Calling 999

What happens when you call 999?

When you dial 999 your call will be put through to an emergency services call centre. The operator will ask which of the emergency services you require; this will depend on the nature of the emergency. The operator will then ask what has happened and where the incident has occurred; you should try to be as specific as possible as this will help the emergency services to locate you. The details you provide can be extremely important; if there is a medical emergency, the paramedics will be able to get the necessary equipment ready while police can call any additional help or specialist units that may be required and fire services can choose which equipment to use; these preparations will save time and ensure the incident is tackled as quickly as possible.

Additional information

In addition to your location and details of the incident you may be asked to provide any additional information which may help the emergency services; this may include giving further details of the casualty such as their sex, age and any details of their medical history you may be aware of as well as describing their current condition and any other information which may be relevant.

After the call

After the call you should try to help the casualty until emergency help arrives on the scene; in emergency situations this may include putting the casualty into the recovery position and conducting CPR. In non-emergency situations it may be necessary to keep a casualty talking, keep them warm and constantly reassure them; this will help to calm them down and stabilise their condition. Do not attempt to move any casualties until help arrives, unless there is immediate danger such as the possibility of an explosion for example. When the emergency services arrive they may require you to answer questions on the nature of the incident and the casualty’s condition.

Hoax calls

Hoax calls cost emergency services millions of pounds each year and can cost lives. You should never call 999 unless there is a genuine emergency. Punishments can be extremely severe, as the consequences of hoax calls can be fatal.