Dáil Éireann - Volume 678 - 12 March, 2009

Written Answers. - Emergency Services.

Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on a survey that showed low awareness of the EU 112 emergency telephone number; the steps he will take to rectify this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10521/09]

  Deputy Seán Power: I am aware of a recent EU publication about the emergency access telephone number 112, which claims that there is a low level of awareness of the number in Ireland.

The emergency access number 112 was introduced to meet two objectives; the first being to provide a single access emergency number at a national level and the second being to provide a single access emergency number across all of the EU.

Ireland was one of a few EU Member States that traditionally has used a single emergency access number (999). The 999 and 112 emergency access numbers operate in parallel and provide a connection to the emergency services from both fixed and mobile telecommunications operators offering public switched telecommunications services.

A number of initiatives have been put in place to increase familiarity with the 112 number. The 112 emergency number was advertised recently in the handbook “Preparing for Major Emergencies” which was issued by the Department of Defence to every household in Ireland and contained detail about the use of the number 112.

The 112 emergency access number is advertised at strategic locations around the country such as airports, ports and public telephone boxes. The emergency services also advertise the 112 number on some of their emergency vehicles. The Department’s website also contains information on the 112 emergency access number. The Department will continue to consider ways to increase awareness of the 112 emergency access number.