The use of 112, the European Emergency number with more accurate caller location has increased.

Man standing on a mountain peak looking towards the mountain range

EU legislation makes it possible for Europeans to contact emergency services for free by dialing 112 from any EU country. More accurate caller location of emergency calls is on the rise, as showed in the latest report on the implementation of 112. The report is based on data collected in all 28 Member States via the Communication Committee.

Every year, about 300 thousand people who call the emergency services cannot provide their location, because they may not know where they are, are too young to say, or too injured to communicate. In these situations, knowing the exact location of the caller can help emergency services to react quickly and save lives.

Last year Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska called for the deployment of Advanced Mobile Location (AML) that enables smartphones to provide emergency services with accurate caller location information via an SMS or data channel by using in-built Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or Wi-Fi capabilities. AML is a caller location solution which can locate a person within less than 100m.

This year Commissioner Mariya Gabriel praised the uptake of AML in Belgium, Finland and Ireland raising the number of AML countries to seven:

Human life has no price and the European Commission will not spare efforts in ensuring the 112 number saves ever more lives.  The single emergency number for the EU proved to be one of the most useful and visible results of the common work of the Commission, the Parliament and the Member States throughout the years, saving thousands of lives in the entire European Union. The benefits from 112 are undeniable, but we have to grasp every new technological opportunity in order to further improve its work. I am confident that at least half of Member States will be able to ensure more accurate location for citizens in distress by 2020. I thank the industry for the possibility it offers to have Advanced Mobile Location in the toolbox of every emergency service in the EU.

Currently AML is deployed in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania and United Kingdom, three more countries than last year. In order to boost the uptake of the AML for the benefit of citizens and emergency services, the European Commission launched a project in September 2017 with the goal of deploying AML in at seven additional Member States in the next two years.

Commissioner Bieńkowska said:

I am happy that EU Member States and industry see the advantages of a caller location solution in emergency situations that uses satellite navigation such as the European Satellite positioning system: Galileo. Galileo is up and running and last year alone more than 75 million Galileo-enabled smartphones were sold. These new users join the ranks of the Galileo user community benefitting thanks to Galileo from better accuracy, higher precision location information, including in emergency situations.

At the time of publishing this report the AML solution was available only for smartphones using the Android operational system. As of spring 2018, Apple foresees the upgrade of its iOS 11.3 on all devices to include "support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user’s current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported".

As of April 2018 eCall will be functioning throughout Europe and in the event of a serious accident, eCall automatically dials 112.