New 999 app allows eye witnesses to live stream video footage

An innovative solution has been launched that enables emergency control rooms to view live footage streamed from eye witnesses at the scene.

Launched by West Midlands Fire Service in collaboration with Capita, 999EYE is the first-ever smartphone solution that enables 999 callers, with compatible mobile devices, to securely send live footage or images of incidents to emergency service control rooms.

It works by sending, with the 999 caller’s permission, a text message to their smartphone containing a URL. Once clicked, a one-use-only live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to the control room. GPS coordinates are also delivered, helping to pinpoint the exact location of an incident.

999EYE is not yet to be used for 999 calls until further testing is completed, with the general public go-live date not yet issued.

fire-control-award1-768x512The solution enables control staff to quickly establish the severity of an incident and then ensure that response crews have been safely and efficiently dispatched to locations with the information they need.

The service will be piloted by West Midlands Fire Service, which will be the first emergency service to go live with the solution.

Steve Taylor, Area Commander for Organisational Preparedness, said: “Our fire crews currently take an average of just 4 minutes and 40 seconds to reach emergencies in which people or buildings are in danger. Responding to incidents safely, quickly and assertively is key to reducing casualties and damage to property.

“We’re proud to be at the technological forefront by with 999EYE. It will help to ensure that people get the most appropriate response, complementing the skills of our expert control staff in obtaining information from 999 callers.”

Chris Jones, CEO of PageOne, part of Capita, added: “Conceived by West Midlands Fire Service and jointly developed with Capita, this is a ground breaking solution that has the potential to deliver significant benefits to blue light services and the general public. In addition to fire and rescue services, this technology could advance the way 999 calls are reported and dealt with by the Police, Ambulance services, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Mountain Rescue services across the UK.”