But what technical effort is actually necessary to ensure that even an emergency call from a mobile phone reaches the right control centre quickly and reliably at any time?
In an emergency, help is available on 112 throughout the European Union, EFTA, Russia, Ukraine and some other European countries. The average waiting time for the control stations to answer a call is only about ten seconds. However, there is a backlog in the transmission of caller location*. However, this information is crucial to get rescue workers on the right track quickly. To transmit the location automatically and securely is a big challenge: An emergency call made by mobile phone must reach the correct control centre in order to ensure the fastest possible assistance. In Germany, every fixed and mobile network provider is obliged to provide emergency call functionality in accordance with the Telecommunications Act (TKG).
Reserved connections accessible from any mobile phone.
The associated connections are assigned special, protected numbers that cannot be dialled directly by regular subscriber connections. The telecommunications providers convert a dialed 112 into these reserved numbers and thus establish the connection to the control centre. In addition, all device manufacturers must integrate appropriate functionality on their end devices, such as smartphones. For mobile phone users, the emergency call service is free of charge, even with prepaid contracts without credit. A PIN entry is just as unnecessary as having an "own" network: The mobile phone may log on to another network, thereby minimizing the problem of possible dead spots.
Emergency call forwarding within a mobile network takes place at the exchange. "From there, antenna locations and associated geographical data are clearly assigned to the phone number of a control center," explains Georg Kieferl, Head of Telco Solutions at MicroNova. Among other things, the company develops solutions with which mobile operators can manage their networks - this is important because the radio access networks are constantly changing due to expansion and optimization. This is the only way to ensure nationwide emergency call coverage.
Further increase awareness of 112
The radio networks are technically ready to forward emergency calls optimally. However, only about half of EU citizens know that they can call 112 throughout the European Union, EFTA, Russia, Ukraine and several other European countries for help in emergencies - and have been doing so since 1991.
W-questions to consider
Once the emergency call connection has been successfully established, the appropriate information must be transmitted. Here, too, the five "W-questions" apply across borders: Where is the event? Who's calling? What's happened? How many people are affected? What questions are there? Once these points have been clarified, callers must initiate first aid measures. Citizens still have some time until the European Day of First Aid: it will take place on 8 September 2018.