June 17, 2022

Mobile Operators Launch 999 British Sign Language Emergency Video Relay Service

A new app is has been launched (17th June 2022) which will allow users to make free calls to UK emergency services through a BSL interpreter.

Where deaf users once had to rely on text to communicate with the emergency services, 999BSL offers a video connection to a BSL interpreter.

For BSL users, it provides a simple way to contact the emergency services. The service is free of charge and doesn’t require users to register.

By using the 999 BSL app or 999 BSL website, deaf people can make an emergency video call in British Sign Language. The service connects the user to a BSL interpreter who will appear on the screen.

The interpreter voices what the deaf person says to the emergency operator and also relays in sign language what the hearing operator says in near real time. The interpreter will then make a subsequent voice call to the emergency services on behalf of the user.

The service can also be used to receive return calls from the emergency authorities.

What is 999 BSL?

999 BSL is a service that connects you to British Sign Language Interpreters remotely through an app or a web-based platform, who then will relay the conversation with the call handler and emergency authorities.

This service has been set up so that no deaf person will be excluded when they need to make an emergency call, therefore saving lives.

How to make a 999 BSL call?

There will be two ways to reach the emergency authorities through 999 BSL service and they are:

  • iOS and Android App (smartphone and tablet)
  • Web-based (other devices)

There are three very simple steps. You will need to:

  1. Open the app (needs downloading beforehand) or webpage
  2. Press the red button ‘Call 999 BSL now’
  3. Connect to an interpreter

When to use the 999 BSL service?

The 999 BSL service is for emergency situations ONLY, for an example if someone is seriously injured; lives at risk; being in danger or harm; a serious offence is in progress or just has been committed.

For less urgent situations, please use Police 101 (wherever possible) and NHS111 through SignVideo – not 999 BSL, unless there is an emergency.

For more information:

For more information about the 999 BSL service, FAQs, and how to download the app, visit the 999BSL website.

For any enquiries, please email

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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