Emergency services phone number 999 turned 80 years old on Friday. We look back at the history of this life-saving number.
The emergency services phone number 999 is 80 years old today. You can ring it if you need help from the police, fire brigade or ambulance services.
Before the 999 number, people had to go to a special police box to contact the emergency services. Being able to call from their own phones meant they could get help much more quickly.
The number was first introduced in London in 1937. 999 was chosen because it would be easy to dial on old-style phones. This poster showed people how to dial the number in an emergency. It is free to call.
The number got 1,000 calls in its first week of operation. Today the service gets around 560,000 calls a week now - that's around 30 million calls a year.
London had the number in 1937, Glasgow got it the next year and lots of big cities got it after the Second World War. It took until 1976 when all the telephone exchanges were automated that the whole country could call it.
999 is the world's oldest emergency service. The US waited until 1968 to introduce its emergency number, 911.
Most people calling 999 want to speak to the police...