Using 999 with speech or hearing impairment

The Relay UK service is provided for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired as an alternative option for contacting an emergency 999 service. You must register your mobile phone on the emergency-SMS website to be able to use this text service; register your mobile phone now and don’t wait until you need the emergency-SMS service. Please remember, that you will need to re-register if you change your mobile phone number.

If an emergency happens we advise you only to use emergency-SMS to contact the emergency services if you have no other option. This is because it will take longer than other methods such as calling 999.

Register to use the text service

You must register your mobile phone on the e-SMS website to be able to use this text service.

Register for emergencySMS service by text message

How to use the text service to contact 999, once you’ve registered

Send a text to 999 to access emergency medical assistance.

Your text message will need to include:

  • which service you need: ambulance, fire, police or coastguard
  • a short description of the problem
  • where the incident is taking place: Name of road, house number and postcode area
  • if possible, nearby landmarks or main roads.

We will be able to respond quicker and more appropriately if you include this information and are as accurate as possible when giving the location.

An example of a text might read:

“ambulance. lady collapsed. outside Norwich bus station, queens road entrance”

How we will respond

When we receive your message we will send you a text to confirm we’ve received it. We may text for further information, but this will not delay our ambulance response to you.

If you do not receive a confirmation text from us, text again.


More information is available from: