999 BSL is the name of the UK’s first ever Emergency Video Relay Service in British Sign Language (BSL). The service is available to download as a smartphone app (iOS and Android) and access as a web-based platform. It launched on 17 June 2022.
In a statement on 27 January 2022, Ofcom set out a requirement for communications providers across the UK to make an emergency BSL service available from 17 June 2022.
Ofcom approved Sign Language Interactions (SLI) as the sole provider of the service, which enables deaf BSL users in the UK to make calls to emergency authorities such as the police, ambulance, fire and coastguard services via BSL video relay interpreters.
SLI is working closely with BT, who is the wholesale supplier of the service to the telecoms industry. They are also committed to working closely with communication providers. They take care to ensure that the service is compliant with Ofcom’s General Conditions and provide them with resources to help promote the service within their networks.
They communicate regularly with the deaf British Sign Language community and continue to provide regular updates on the service through our own communication channels and those of other stakeholders we work with, including third sector organisations.
To find out more about 999 BSL, please email [email protected]