Thought for the day:"Who took the cork out of my lunch?"
Start of a new month and the repeal from the Dry Month of June. Provincial Mark Meeting today and was surprised at the quality of the sound that I managed to get out of my speakers and keyboard. Of course - I was not playing and the Organist was pretty much a virtuoso - but the volume and quality was reasonable.
I tis also 50 years today that Colour Television started. And wouldn't life be different if we did not have the screen in the corner. Yesterday was the anniversary of the 999 system. 80 years old - so again not really that old.
The world’s oldest emergency service was launched in London on June 30,
1937. A fire at a London doctor’s surgery in November 1935, that led to
the tragic death of five women, resulted in a committee being set up by
the government to look at the problem of how telephone operators’ could
identify emergency calls.
Glasgow became the second city to benefit from the service in 1938. The
Second World War delayed the rollout of the service across the UK, but
it was eventually extended to all major towns and cities by 1948.
More than a thousand calls were made during the first week of the
service in London in 1937, with each 999 call triggering flashing red
lights and hooters to alert operators in the exchange to give priority
to the emergency call. The hooters were apparently so loud that the
operators pushed a tennis ball into the horn to reduce the volume until
modifications were made.
Hoax or unnecessary calls were a feature of the 999 service from the
very beginning, including a complaint about bagpipes being played
outside a house and a dispute between a neighbour and the local coalman.
BT advisors now answer around 560,000 calls a week – that is around 30
million calls a year from fixed and mobile phones – with more than 97%
answered within five seconds. The majority of calls made by members of
the public are now from mobile phone calls, making up 62% of all 999
calls answered by BT.
Some of the highest numbers of calls made to 999 are around midnight on
Friday and Saturday nights, with around 5,000 calls an hour being
received by BT. The early hours of New Year’s Day are traditionally the
busiest time of the year when up to 9,000 calls can be received each
Nick Hale, managing director, BT Ventures, said: “Recent events in the
UK mean people are acutely aware of the work of the emergency services
and the value of the 999 service. I am extremely proud of the BT
operators and their role in 999. They are an extremely capable and
committed team working at the sharp end of the most important
communication services in the country. Countless lives have been saved
over the last 80 years because of their professionalism and dedication.”
The latest development in the 999 service is Advanced Mobile Location
(AML), a new mobile location system, pioneered by BT, to pinpoint 999
calls from mobiles more precisely. When an emergency call is made with
an AML-enabled smartphone, the phone automatically activates its
location service and sends its position in a text message to the 999
service. AML is up to 4,000 times more accurate than existing location
systems. It is now integrated into the Android operating system in the
UK and is being adopted across Europe and the rest of the world.
Around 35% of the 30 million calls answered by BT each year do not
involve actual requests for help. The majority of these are made by
children playing with home phones or people accidentally dialling 999 or
the European emergency number 112, often from a mobile handset in a
pocket or handbag.
The proportion of calls connected by BT to the various emergency
services is: Police – 49%, Ambulance - 47%, Fire and Rescue Service – 4%
and less than 1% to the Coastguard and Cave and Mountain rescue
Cheers - and I can say that today - I once more raise a glass of Chateau 41