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BT's 999 Merseyside Centre answers over 5 million calls in record breaking year


BT revealed its latest 999 call handling figures, with its Merseyside base handling a record breaking 5.09 million calls in 12 months, as it joins the emergency services to celebrate this year's 999 Day.

BT call advisors are the calm and collected voices answering every emergency call. Seven BT call centres, including 1 in Merseyside, handle all the UK's 999 calls in:- Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England, passing calls to the relevant emergency service.

The number of annual calls answered at the Merseyside hub rose by nearly 50% from:- 3.46 million to:- 5.09 million.

In recent years, the number of 999 calls BT handles nationally has increased dramatically, from around 25 million calls a year in 2000 to almost 40 million within the last year. Since the 80th anniversary of the emergency number 5 years ago, the company has handled more than 176 million calls.

Jeremy Smitham, Senior Manager, Voice Services for BT's Enterprise unit, said:- "Our 999 call advisors do a fantastic job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, supporting our emergency services. During the last year they have handled a record number of 999 calls, driven by factors including the EURO 2020 football tournament, the NHS managing a winter vomiting bug and the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic. A growing trend for staycation holidays also resulted in an uplift in calls around coastal and tourist destinations. Additionally, this summer's heatwave, which recorded the hottest temperature ever in the UK, also led to a surge in 999 calls; with more than 3.6 million calls handled in July alone."

New technology is also impacting the way people communicate with the emergency services. Since April 2018, all newly certified cars and small vans coming off the production line must be fitted with an emergency call system, known as eCall, a safety feature that is automatically activated in the event of an incident when the airbags are deployed. In 2018/19 a total of:- 1,265 eCalls were received, but in 2021/2022 this figure increased to:- 66,792.

In June this year, BT 999 call advisors were trained ahead of the launch of a new emergency video relay service:- '999 BSL.' This service enables deaf and hard of hearing people who prefer to communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), to contact 999 via a dedicated mobile app or website.

A quick tap or click on the emergency 999 button opens a video connection to a BSL Interpreter, who then contacts a BT call advisor, before being put through to the requested emergency authority. The interpreter relays the conversation with the:- Ambulance, Coastguard, Fire or Police in the callers' local area, allowing deaf users to independently make emergency BSL calls via 999 advisors, 24 hours a day.

Mr Smitham added:- "It is imperative that the emergency services can react quickly to critical situations, and I'm incredibly proud of the work BT does to support these vital services. The past few years have seen a consistent increase in the number of calls being handled by our specially trained teams. As we manage the growing number of calls from a variety of different platforms, our commitment to all the emergency services remains unwavering, ensuring that they can stay connected even in the face of unprecedented call volumes."

What are your thoughts on this? Please do let us know by emailing them to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

91 Liverpool John Moores University Students Set Off to Study Abroad this Month

OVER 90 students will head off to 18 countries this year as part of LJMU's Study Abroad Programme. The study abroad universities span across 3 continents including institutions within the:- USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Europe, and each student beat off stiff competition to be selected by LJMU Study Abroad Team as an international student, on a study abroad placement.

The students will spend either the whole academic year between their 2nd and 3rd year at LJMU, or their 2nd semester of 2nd year at 1 of LJMU's partnership Universities.

Those heading on their year abroad will be studying a range of subjects from:- Business Management, Law, International Relations with Politics, Accounting and Finance to Education Studies, Zoology, Sport and Exercise Science, to name a few.

What's more, two new destinations have been added to the applications options for students this year, including:- Mahidol University in Thailand and Shue Yan University in Hong Kong.

Charlotte Roberts, a current 1st year student, was selected for the year abroad in Hong Kong, where she will continue to study Criminology and Sociology. She said:- "I'm so excited as I've never been to Hong Kong before, and I want to try to learn Cantonese whilst I'm there. I heard about the study abroad programme about five months ago and knew it was something I wanted to do. I'm nervous but the LJMU Study Abroad team has been really helpful with visa processes, advice on staying safe whilst we are out there, plus covid restrictions."

Second year, Oscar Brown, who will be studying History in South Korea, said:- "I'm most excited about the different culture, the different people, the different food as well as seeing the architecture and experiencing more extreme weather. Studying abroad is something I've always wanted to do, it's going to be a new challenge, but it is definitely a good step in my life and the LJMU Study Abroad team has been instrumental in helping me every step of the way."

As well as the 91 students heading on a year or semester abroad, LJMU's International team has also helped place 192 students on Summer Aboard activities, over the past 3 months, which range from:- animal conservation and teaching volunteering placements, summer internships around the world, to summer Schools in:- Columbia, India, Indonesia and across Europe. Plus, LJMU has over 150 partners worldwide for students to study abroad with.

Jayne Kerwin, International Mobility Co-Ordinator, said:- "Here at LJMU our partnerships with institutions across the globe make it a very exciting time to study here. We see students who study abroad come back as more confident, driven, resilient individuals not afraid of a challenge, and the life experience and skills gained, make them stand out from the crowd, when it comes to career prospects. The past two years have been a challenge, not only due to the Pandemic but Brexit, meaning student visa applications and the introduction of the Turing grant scheme, which will replace the Erasmus scheme in the UK. Despite all these challenges, the LJMU Study Aboard team have secured some fantastic placements for students to continue their studies and we continue to expand our list of partnerships with Australia now also being an option for future study abroad placements."


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