Foreign visitors are provided with improved phone access to the emergency services

A mobile application will allow foreign visiting students and staff to communicate with the 112 emergency services number through an app in situations where a voice call is impossible. The app uses pictograms to depict the most common emergencies. The agreement was signed at the Rector’s Offices on 14 April

From left to right Kim Faura, Josep Anton Ferré, Jordi Jané and Federic Adan.

The Catalan Government’s Department of Internal Affairs, the URV and Telefónica have signed a collaboration agreement to facilitate the distribution of a smartphone application that will allow better access to the emergency services for foreign students, teaching staff and administrative staff on the URV’s international programmes who do not speak Catalan, Spanish, English, French or German.

The agreement was signed by the Internal Affairs minister, Jordi Jané, the rector of the URV, Josep Anton Ferré, and the director general of Telefónica in Catalonia, Kim Faura. The signing ceremony was attended by the director of the CAT112 emergency services number and professor of Law at the URV, Federic Adan.

Under the agreement, Telefónica will provide the multilingual application free of charge to the URV and CAT112, the University will promote the application in journals, online, etc. and distribute it to people who are visiting the URV as part of its international programmes, and CAT112 will handle the calls it receives through the app and initiate the correct protocols to provide an appropriate response.

Through this application, the URV wishes to improve the safety of foreigners who visit or reside in Catalonia and who use the university’s services. CAT112 together with Barcelona Centre Universitari is already distributing this app among foreign students who are studying in Barcelona, and now the URV is joining them in this venture.

The ‘112 Accessible’ app has been developed by Telefónica and enables foreigners in Catalonia to communicate in their own language with the 112 emergency telephone number by using pictograms and a GPS service. The pictograms cover the most common emergencies that cause people to ring 112 and are grouped into three sections: police, fire and rescue and ambulance. They depict situations such as physical attacks, robbery, car accidents, fires, floods, abuse, convulsions, vomiting, etc. Furthermore, each pictogram includes advice to help minimise further risks while the individual waits for the emergency services to arrive.

When CAT112 launched the app several years ago, it provided foreigners with a new means of contacting the emergency services that was not restricted by language. The languages included in this version of the app are English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Polish, Japanese and Italian, although the application is designed to be able to incorporate more languages in the future.

It should always be born in mind that the best way of communicating with the emergency services is with a voice call and that this application should only be used when such a call is not possible. CAT112 answers calls in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and German.

The emergency telephone number 112 handles all emergency calls in Catalonia 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It is free and used by every country in the European Union. In addition to this app, CAT112 has a version for deaf and mute people who need to call 112 but who are unable to speak with the operator who answers their call. CAT112 also has the My112 app, which is free to everyone and allows a caller’s exact position to be located provided there is network coverage.

These initiatives by CAT112 have been developed in conjunction with Telefónica and aim to ensure that any members of the public who find themselves in an emergency situation receive the same coordinated, effective and immediate attention.

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