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Multilingual 112 Action

The 112, the European emergency call number, is available in all the Member States on the basis of article 26 of Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive).

However, citizens in distress calling the 112 outside their country are often confronted with the impossibility to communicate with emergency services in their own language. In some countries 112 call centres can handle multilingual calls, mainly through on-duty interpreters who can be called on their mobile phones to help, via a three-way teleconference, establish communication between the caller and the operator.

The Brussels Fire Brigade has requested, via R&D, the help of European civil servants in order to use multilingual volunteers to help them establish the needs for a service to citizens who do not speak French or Dutch.

This will be accomplished via a pilot project which aims at «studying and validating technical and organisational aspects linked with the creation of a network of on-duty interpreters accessible via telephone to support the operators of the 100/112 call centre of the Brussels Region». Following the pilot project the Brussels Fire Brigade will establish specifications for launching a call for tenders to implement multilingual support on a permanent, professional basis.

The project will have a maximum duration of 3 months. Participation will be on a voluntary basis. The volunteers should speak French or Dutch plus one of the following EU languages, needed by the Brussels Fire Brigade, in order of priority: Portuguese, Polish (and other Slavonic languages) Italian, German, Spanish and English. They also need Arabic (Moroccan), Turkish as well as in a lesser degree (given the number of calls) Greek, Finnish, Swedish and Russian. The volunteers will be called to help the Brussels Fire Brigade by ensuring a multilingual support to victims and will in no case be held responsible for actions undertaken by the Fire Brigade in the context of its mission.

Practical information

Volunteers should read the Instructions to volunteers (in French or Dutch) and fill in a form with their personal information (in French or Dutch) to be transmitted to the project leader Lieutenant Thierry Charlier (thierry.charlier@firebru.irisnet.be) or the Political Secretary of R&D Marco Pino (OSP-RD@ec.europa.eu, Marco Pino, SecPol R&D, J 79-9/229). Contact the same persons for more information if necessary.

Information visits to the 100/112 call centre of Brussels (Avenue de l’Héliport 15, at 1000 Brussels) for the volunteers (but also for people who may be interested to join), are organised on Thursday March 4 at 12:00 and on Saturday March 6 at 14:00

Interesting links:

Flash Eurobarometer reports 285 The European Emergency number 112 : wave 3

Europa 112 Main Page