Who needs 112? (Or: Country-wide malfunction by emergency services)

First off, 112 is the emergency number in the Netherlands just like 911 is the emergency number in the US. And guess what? Right now there’s a malfunction by one of the telephone carriers in the Netherlands making it impossible to dial 112 or the non-emergency police number 0900-8844.

Around 17:20 they sent out an NL-Alert saying that the was a country-wide malfunction with the telephone and that we should go to the nearest fire department or police station in an emergency. That’s it – yikes. A bit confusing, since there was nothing about the issues with the 112 number. Also not good? Marco I received the alert around 18:10, almost an hour after it was originally sent.

However a few minutes later Marco and I received an NL-Alert with better information:

Interesting things to note here:

  • this time they said 112 was having issues – that’s better.
  • the end of the message is translated in English. Nice.
  • You know you’re catching up with technology when they are also able to give a WhatsApp number. (Correction: the WhatsApp number they sent was wrong. Eek! They sent out a third NL-Alert with the new number 06-10000011)
  • You can also use Twitter to contact the police in general.

Not mentioned above, but the police also said they are also sending all available police officers out into the streets to make their presence more noticeable so that citizens have alternative means of reporting issues.

Read more here:

From the police: “Due to technical malfunctions the emergency number 112 and the service number 0900-8844 (not for emergencies) cannot be reached at this moment. There are alternative telephone numbers available. For 112 call 088-66 28 240, for 0900-8844 call 088-96 59 630”.

Kind of crazy, though, that the emergency phone system can be brought down at all. I expect a thorough investigation at some point…

Edit: mostly fixed around 20:00, but the numbers the police gave out will be usable for now.

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