Emergency calls meet with engaged tone

People calling Sweden's emergency number 112 on Sunday morning could have been met with the engaged tone, the organization that runs the service has admitted.

During a routine check on Sunday morning an employee of operator SOS Alarm was met with the busy signal when calling 112, the Swedish equivalent of 911 in the US or 999 in the UK.

This happened at the same time that the majority of the country’s 18 SOS Alarm call centres were experiencing problems with a recently installed phone and computer system. Call centres were forced to run on a reserve system after the ordinary system failed.

SOS Alarm press spokesman Anders Klarström said it was not possible to say with certainty whether anyone other than the test operator had problems getting through to 112. But, he said, the possibility cannot be ruled out.

“We take it seriously if 112 is engaged or if you don’t get through. You should always be able to do that, even if the waiting times are sometimes longer when we’re using a reserve system,” Klarström said.

“It should always be possible to get through. 112 is an emergency number and a very, very important number.”

SOS Alarm has started an investigation into the problem.

A problem with a database has been put forward as the probable reason for the call centres being forced onto the reserve system. Klarström said he hoped that all call centres would be running on the normal system by late on Sunday morning.