Access to emergency services

The Telecom Act makes a distinction between two types of emergency services:

Emergency services providing on-site assistance, including:

  • the emergency medical service (100 and 112);
  • the fire services (100 and 112);
  • the police services (101 and 112);
  • the civil protection (100 and 112);

Emergency services providing remote assistance, including:

  • the poison centre (070 245 245);
  • the centres for suicide prevention (0800 32 123, 02 649 95 55 and 1813);
  • the Teleonthaal/ Téléaccueil centres (106, 107 and 108);
  • the children’s telephone services (102, 103 and 104);
  • the European centre for missing and sexually abused children (110 and 116 000).

The operators’ main obligations are the following:

  • Allowing citizens to call the emergency services for free and without interruption and directing the call to the call centre for emergency calls of the emergency services which is competent for the geographical area from where the emergency call comes from;
  • Giving priority on access to their networks and services to emergency services and providing the same priority to these services regarding the elimination of defects;
  • Providing, during calls to emergency services providing on-site assistance and to them, the localisation of the caller as well as his/her name and first name;
  • Participating in the fight against malicious calls to emergency services providing on-site assistance;
  • Notifying BIPT of an incident which has an impact on the network and is affecting the access to emergency services over this network;
  • Reimbursing the emergency services providing on-site assistance, via a fund administered by BIPT, for certain costs these emergency services have been facing.

Mobile operators must also allow, among others, the deaf or hard of hearing or the people with any other disability preventing them from making a voice call to reach the emergency services providing on-site assistance by SMS.

Finally, BIPT facilitates, by means of the unified notification platform (see the “Practical information” section), the opportunity for emergency services providing on-site assistance to contact an operator in the event of technical difficulties during the emergency call.

BIPT is tasked with monitoring the observance of the legislation and sanctioning the possible infringements.

The legal framework is the following:

Public warning system 

At the request of a mayor, a provincial governor or the competent authority of the Brussels conurbation under Article 48 of the Special Act of 12 January 1989 on Brussels institutions, or the minister in charge of Internal Affairs, mobile operators must send messages to the population to alert it in case of imminent danger or in the event of a major disaster and to inform it in order to limit the impact.

The applicable legal framework in this matter is the following: Article 106/1 of the Telecom Act and its implementing Royal Decree, i.e. the Royal Decree of 23 February 2018 on the sending of a short text message in case of imminent danger or in the event of a major disaster.


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