Public safety & emergency communications

Public safety is enhanced by rapid and efficient communications, whether as a result of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) or its close relation; Public Access Mobile Radio (PAMR) or via resilient and secure public communications networks.

In our era of ubiquitous mobile phones public safety is again enhanced, with many mobile phones, and even smart phones, allowing the emergency number (e.g. 112, 911) to be dialed when the keypad is locked or even when the terminal has no active SIM card.

A significant part of the Standards work related to Public Safety is in the need for emergency communications, which includes many scenarios ranging from a minor road traffic accident to a major incident like a passenger train crash, a terrorist incident or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.

Emergency Communications (EMTEL)

ETSI Special Committee Emergency Communications (EMTEL) is responsible for the capture of European requirements concerning emergency communication services. The committee revises regularly four of its deliverables that are considered as the basis of EMTEL work, i.e. governing communications in times of emergency, covering communication of citizens with authorities, from authorities to citizens, between authorities and amongst citizens. In addition EMTEL deals with topics like location, total conversation and alerting.

Answer to European mandate M493 in Support of the Location Enhanced Emergency Call Service

The scope of this mandate is to standardize the determination and transport of caller location information for VoIP including a single functional model, the necessary interfaces and protocols. The architecture has been defined and now the protocols are defined in ETSI Technical Committee Network Technologies (NTECH).

Satellite Emergency Communications (TC SES WG SatEC)

ETSI is preparing standards in the area of satellite emergency communication, in particular involving broadband services. ETSI SES SatEC has answered to the European space mandate (M/496) to develop standards for the space industry, more particularly concerning disaster management.


Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is a digital Private Mobile Radio (PMR) and Public Access Mobile Radio (PAMR) technology for critical communications e.g. police, ambulance and fire services, security services, utilities, military, public access, fleet management, transport services, closed user groups, factory site services, mining.

TETRA Release 1 and TETRA Release 2 standards are complete and revised when needed.

Proofing Products against Crime

A new area with significant potential for new standards, Proofing Products against Crime involves integrating or embedding crime-prevention features into products - to reduce their potential to become targets of criminal activity (such as theft, fraud or damage), as well as preventing their use as instruments of crime.

The term 'product' encompasses physical objects, electronic information, electronic services and computer software. The European Commission has requested action from the European Standards Organizations on this topic.

ETSI's first contribution is a pdfWhite Paper on Proofing Products against Crime, which presents the key concepts of crime proofing of ICT products.


The Third Generation Partnership Project deals with a number of 3G/4G services dedicated to public safety, e.g. the Priority Service and Multimedia Priority Service, the Voice Group Call Service (VGCS) for public authority officials, the transferring of emergency call data and the Public Warning System.

3GPP has also produced standards for eCall, an in-vehicle emergency call service which will allow data generated during a road traffic accident or similar incident to be routed to a Public Service Access Point (PSAP) as part of an emergency call automatically instigated by the vehicle. This work has involved liaison with ETSI Technical Committee Mobile Standards Group (MSG).

The 3GPP SA WG6 is a dedicated group for Critical Communications applications and is responsible for the definition, evolution and maintenance of technical specification(s) for application layer functional elements and interfaces supporting critical communications (e.g. Mission Critical Push To Talk).

See for more details.

Project MESA

Project MESA (Mobility for Emergency and Safety Applications) was a transatlantic partnership project, established by ETSI and the North American Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). It has now achieved its mission and is closed.

For more information, see the MESA web site

The following is a list of public safety related standards. Please use the ETSI standards search to find further related standards in the public domain or to subscribe for alerts on updates of ETSI standards.

For work in progress see the ETSI Work Programme on the Portal.

Standard No.Standard Title
SR 002 180 Requirements for communication of citizens with authorities/organizations in case of distress (emergency call handling)
TR 102 513 Feasibility Study into the Implications of Operating Public Safety Sector (PSS) TEDS using the proposed ' Tuning Range' concept in the 410 MHz to 430 MHz and 450 MHz to 470 MHz frequency bands
TR 102 445 Overview of Emergency Communications Network Resilience and Preparedness
TR 102 444 Analysis of the Short Message Service (SMS) and Cell Broadcast Service (CBS) for Emergency Messaging applications;
Emergency Messaging; SMS and CBS
TS 102 182 Requirements for communications from authorities/organizations to individuals, groups or the general public during emergencies
TR 170 003 Service Specification Group - Services and Applications;
Basic requirements
TR 170 012 Technical Specification Group - System;
System Overview
TR 101 870 Fixed radio transmitter sites;
Exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic fields;
Guidelines for working conditions