A new 999 service that allows people to make calls using British Sign Language (BSL) was launched on Friday (June 17).

The service, 999 BSL, lets deaf users use BSL through an app or website with an interpreter who will relay the conversation to an operator.

It is the first time a 999 emergency service has been made available in BSL, though a similar process exists for the NHS 111 number.

As reported by BBC News the new sign language-based service does not require registration, meaning callers can use it as long as the app or webpage is open.

To make a call with 999 BSL, users need to open the app or webpage, then press a red button that will connect them to an interpreter.

New Forest Post: This is the first time an emergency service has been made available with BSL (PA)This is the first time an emergency service has been made available with BSL (PA)

James Watson-O’Neil, chief executive of deaf health charity Sign Health, said: "Deaf people can now contact emergency services directly and assist anyone in need of help.

"This is a huge breakthrough in terms of access and a moment worth celebrating."

However, he did raise concerns for problems that would occur after the call had been made.

He added: “But what happens when the ambulance arrives?

“The paramedics won’t be able to sign and there is no national video relay service in England to support them to communicate with deaf people.

Abigail Gorman, public affairs and policy manager at SignHealth said: “We won’t be satisfied until deaf people have full and equal access to services, particularly life-saving health services.”