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Why still 999 for the Police/Fire service or Medical assistance?

NSP

LE
Plus a thing called ICE. Also a 999 call uses every available network not the one you're on. Thankfully!
ICE is a suffix you add to contacts in your phone that you want notified if you end up in, say, hospital having been found unconscious - i.e. you're already in the hands of the emergency services, not summoning them. How some A&E nurse is supposed to nosey through your contacts when she doesn't know the pattern for your unlock screen is a mystery, however.
 
You miss my point. @old_bloke answered @Mrs Slocombe with a reference to E.164 and NOA. My point was that the number of people who have a clue what these are will be very small indeed. Certainly smaller than those who know you can dial 112 in the UK for emergency help.

But if you really, really want to know...

The ITU-T is an international standards body that issues standards for telecommunications. The Letter part (E in this case) indicates the specific topic, in this case, "Overall network operation, telephone service, service operation and human factors". The number part indicates the specific standard, in this case the international standard for telephone number format.

Nature of Address indicator (NOA) indicates whether the number is national, or international. Within national networks, if there is a leading digit (0 or 1, usually), it is stripped, and the NOA set to indicate whether this number is to be interpreted as a national number or an international number. Most call-setup signaling messages will have a Calling Number and a Called Number. The Calling Number is who to bill, the Called Number where to route it to (it's more complicated than that, but that'll do for government work). If someone in the UK located in London calls Egypt, their calling number will be eg 0207xxxxxxx. The called number could be be 00207xxxxxxxx. Given that the numbers are stripped of their leading zeroes, both will be 207xxxxx. That's where the NOA comes in, and one will be national, one international, and the call will route accordingly, and be billed appropriately.

However, these signaling messages only occur between the switches in the network(s) required to route the call. The subscriber never, ever sees them, and just knows that he's dialed 00207xxxxxxxx for the ticket office at the pyramids visitor centre or whatever. To see them, you need physical access to the cables carrying the signaling links and attach a device called a protocol analyser (other methods of signaling capture available, but outside scope here). In SS7 signaling (going away, but still prevalent), the signaling messages are binary-encoded, not human readable like later protocols, or even HTML on webpages. The analyser decodes the binary into what is meant by each bit. As one may imagine, it takes quite a bit of experience and knowledge to understand the sequence. Also bear in mind that there will be thousands of concurrent calls being setup, torn down and mid-call events. You have to filter the message capture to just that one call to get the overall lifecycle of that call. There's probably only a couple thousand people, tops, in the UK who can do that. If they even had access in the first place.

Back to sleep now :)

I sort of mostly digested what you've written and understood most of it, but not all. But thanks for making it more clear.
 
I seem to recall that on military establishments with their own fire service (as opposed to the piquet), the number to call was 111 as 9999 would connect to the civvy brigade or not function if abroad.

But I may be misremembering this bit.
Military version of 999 was 222 in my day, that used to come through to the Military Police station as the number was manned 24/7. ;)
 
Isn't it still the case though in the UK? They are plastered on the sides of all the EMT vehicles.

111 is the NHS direct number, you call that for medical advice, if they deem the incident warrants it, they will escalate it to the 999 switchboard and an ambulance will be tasked and if needbe, a community first responder like me. ;)
 
ICE is a suffix you add to contacts in your phone that you want notified if you end up in, say, hospital having been found unconscious - i.e. you're already in the hands of the emergency services, not summoning them. How some A&E nurse is supposed to nosey through your contacts when she doesn't know the pattern for your unlock screen is a mystery, however.
You can download an ICE app for your phone, the details are then displayed on your lock screen. ;)
 

craven50

War Hero
ICE is a suffix you add to contacts in your phone that you want notified if you end up in, say, hospital having been found unconscious - i.e. you're already in the hands of the emergency services, not summoning them. How some A&E nurse is supposed to nosey through your contacts when she doesn't know the pattern for your unlock screen is a mystery, however.
ICE is not actually! Can be used for that but also it was initially for mountaineers etc have been using it for years for contacting the emergency services .
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
ICE is a suffix you add to contacts in your phone that you want notified if you end up in, say, hospital having been found unconscious - i.e. you're already in the hands of the emergency services, not summoning them. How some A&E nurse is supposed to nosey through your contacts when she doesn't know the pattern for your unlock screen is a mystery, however.
If you add it as a prefix instead of a suffix, anyone searching the phone can scroll down to I and find it immediately instead of scrolling through page after page of contacts scouring for an ICE suffix.
 

craven50

War Hero
ICE? In case of emergency. Says it all. Can be set to 999 for an emergency been used for years and has! Must try it on my prehistoric phone then apologise to the operator! A one push operation. :D
 

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