September sees people in the UK come together to acknowledge the amazing work done by the emergency services in the country. This year’s events to mark Emergency Services Day have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, but now more than ever, it is important to mark the sacrifices made by those on the frontline.
Here are some interesting facts you need to know about Emergency Services Day:
1. A Fitting Date to Celebrate
Emergency Services Day is celebrated on September 9 and begins at 9am, which is why it’s also referred to as 999 Day. It was first marked on September 9 2018, at Heaton Park in Manchester and is held on that date each year because it is 9/9 on the calendar.
2. The Creator of Emergency Services Day
It was inaugurated by Tom Scholes-Fogg of the National Emergency Services Memorial UK who first came up with the idea in 2016. Tom felt there needed to be a day in the UK to honour 999 heroes, across all the emergency services. He lobbied the-then Prime Minister Theresa May and launched the initiative in September 2017.
3. Celebrating a Job Well Done!
Emergency Services Day is designed to highlight the job done by emergency services heroes and also to promote career opportunities within the emergency services.
The day also hopes to encourage volunteer involvement in emergency services and raise money for charities connected to the various emergency services. It is also intended to act as a way of educating the public about the work of each of the emergency services and helps the public themselves learn basic life-saving skills.
4. The Queen Celebrates Emergency Services Day
Among those to have participated in Emergency Services Day events are the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. It is also supported by the UK Prime Minister and the First Ministers of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
5. Four Emergency Services
There are four main emergency services in the UK – the police, fire and rescue, EMS (emergency medical services and coastguard).
6. Thousands of Employees
More than 210,000 people are employed the emergency services across the UK. This includes around 145,000 police offices, 50,000 in the fire and rescue service and about 17,000 paramedics and ambulance staff.
7. People Previously Dialled 0 in an Emergency
The number 999 was first used in the UK to contact emergency services in 1937. The number was decided upon after the previous method of dialling ‘0’ and asking an operator to be put through to the police or fire services proved too slow, as all telephone calls went through an operator at the time.
8. The First 999 Call
The first 999 emergency call is believed to have been made on the July 2 1937, although little is known about what the emergency was. The first recorded incident which required a 999 call was to report a burglary in the Hampstead area of London.
9. How Many Calls?
More than 560,000 999 calls are made to emergency services are made each week, which amounts to around 30 million a year. According to BT figures from 2017, 62% of all 999 calls were made by mobile phones. The company also revealed that 97% of 999 calls are answered within five seconds.
Supporting our Emergency Services
999 Day is your chance to show support to our selfless 999 heroes past and present. Although all events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can still download a flag as a symbol of your solidarity to our emergency services: The 999 Flag.