Welcoming UK's first British Sign Language 999 service

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) welcome the launch of the UK's first emergency Video Relay Service for British Sign Language (BSL) users.


The service, which launched in June, allows those who are deaf or hard of hearing to make a video call in sign language. The interpreter voices what the user says to the emergency services, in near to real time.

BSL users are able to contact fire, police, ambulance and coastguard using the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Station Manager Marie Pook, from AF&RS Control Centre, said: "We are passionate about responding to the needs of our communities, and it's important our services are accessible for all.

"We are pleased to welcome the introduction of the new video relay service for BSL users, it can only help increase our response to emergencies as quickly as possible."

You can use the service by visiting their website: 999bsl.co.ukor, downloading the app for iOS or Android. If you have a question about the service, you can email the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., only call the service if you have a real emergency.

Risk Reduction Manager Nikki Rice added: "We are passionate about keeping everyone in our communities safe, and having this additional tool available for those deaf or hard of hearing is huge positive step forward in ensuring we can respond to everyone in the event of an emergency."

We encourage those residents who are deaf or hard of hearing to request a free Home Fire Safety Visit, to ensure you have the right alarms fitted and safety measures in place to help alert you in the event of a fire. Find out more on our website: https://avonfire.gov.uk/our-services/home-fire-safety-visits