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New menu system for Belgian emergency numbers

20:59 10/02/2020

Belgium is making changes to its emergency helplines - 112 and 101 - from Tuesday, with the introduction of a new menu system.

Whichever of the two numbers you dial, an automated message will offer two options: press 1 for fire or ambulance, or press 2 for the police.

Interior minister Pieter De Crem said the menu system "aims to provide help even faster to people in need".

The change has been made because callers often dialled the wrong number - and precious seconds were lost, manually transferring them to the other number's call centre.

101 remains the main number for the police and 112 for the other emergency services. They are two separate call centres, with different procedures in place.

The new menu was tested out last winter in Namur province and West Flanders. It was found to reduce the number of unnecessary or hoax calls handled by the call centres.

If the caller presses no button, or presses another number by mistake, they will still be answered by an operator.

The system's introduction on Tuesday coincides with the European 112 Day, an international day to promote the Europe-wide emergency number.

Written by The Bulletin


Frank Lee

"You've reached the Belgian emergency services. Your call is very important to us. All our operators are currently busy helping other customers with real emergencies. Please remain on the line, and your call will be answered in the order it was received. This call may be monitored and recorded for quality training purposes. To hear this message repeated in English, press 1. For Dutch, press 2. For French, press 3, For German, press 4. For Arabic, press 5, For Russian, press 6. For Mandarin Chinese, press 7. If you're calling from the province of Limburg, please stay on the line, and a specially-trained operator will be with you shortly."

Feb 11, 2020 11:53