The Indian government is mulling to upscale the national emergency helpline to more regions by unifying all the emergency service numbers into one. Originally launched in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the 112 emergency helpline will be rolled out to more states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. The services will be extended on February 19.
Called the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), the 112 helpline can be dialed by citizens to avail different emergency services including police, ambulance, fire ambulance, mobile dispensary, and more. It is similar to the 911 helpline in the US, Canada, and other countries that offer all the emergency services under one helpline number. Indian citizens will not have to memorize different numbers for different emergency services after the rollout widens across more states.
The ERSS is developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). It was launched last year in Himachal Pradesh as a pilot programme wherein the government checked the implementation and availability of emergency services offered by the assigned number 112. It is now rolling out the service broadly.
The 112 emergency number is already incorporated on all the new smartphones and feature phones. The citizens can either dial 112 or press the power button three times on a smartphone to initiate 112 call, or long-press the key 5/9 on a feature for the same.
Besides, the citizens can even download the 112 app to avail the emergency services. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. The app is designed to automatically send the location and alerts to ERSS to fast-track the emergency services. For the safety of women and children, the app has a SHOUT feature that will inform the local volunteers for the service to quickly offer assistance.