Making a 999 or 112 Call

This is something we get wrong often, have a think now, would you know what information you may be asked, and simply what to expect, we make a 999 or 112 call. To make things worse there are a few myths surrounding making an emergency call.

Lets keep it simple, and here are the facts.

Firstly 999 or 112

In the UK the numbers 999 or 112 can be used interchangeably. 999 is the traditional UK phone number, and 112 is the standard European Union emergency number. The 112 number should work in any country that is part of the European Union, 999 will only work in the UK.

Emergency calls are free

There is no charge for making a call to an emergency number (999 or 112). It doesn’t matter whether you are using a payphone, or landline, or a mobile. This is a requirement of UK law, so no operator will charge for these emergency calls.

Emergency calls for non-English speakers

The emergency service operators can engage a telephone translation service for non-English speakers. The first thing the operator will try and do is to establish the language that the person is speaking and then join in a translator.

Know where you are!

When making an emergency phone call you need to know where you are. If you are making the call from a land-line, and in particular using the emergency phones on the motorway, then they can trace your location from the phone, but they do not have the same accuracy with a mobile phone. If you do not know where you are, try and use a land-line phone, or find a street name. If using a mobile phone from a motorway or major A road, look for the market signs which indicate your exact location (every 100 metres).


HOW TO MAKE A 999 OR 112 CALLWhen you call 999 an operator will ask which emergency service you need. If it’s a medical emergency, ask for the ambulance service and you will be put through to a call taker.

What information will I need?

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • the address where you are, including postcode, if possible
  • *Is there a local person near you, who may be able to describe where you are,
  • *Some businesses may have their address by the door, or next to the telephone
  • *Any land marks near you
  • *Are you able to find a GPS co-ordinate on your phone (have a look now and be prepared)
  • *Do you have any written documentation that may have the address, or local maps
  • *Will the emergency services be able to see where you are from the road
  • the phone number that you are call from
  • what has happened
  • *1 adult unconscious and 1 child with suspected back injury
  • *Chemical spillage in the work canteen

You will also be asked to give some additional information such as:

  • the patient’s age, sex and medical history
  • *Ask the patient, keep talking to your patient, try and get as much information as possible
  • whether the patient is conscious, breathing and if there is any bleeding or chest pain
  • details of the injury and how it happened
  • *Is there somebody else around that may have seen what happened

Answering these questions does not delay the response, but helps us to give you important first aid advice while the ambulance is on its way.

Before the ambulance, stay can help us by doing the following:

  • if you are outside, stay with the patient until help arrives
  • call us back if the patient’s condition worsens
  • call us again your location changes
  • if you are calling from home or work, ask someone to open the doors and signal to ambulance staff where they are needed
  • lock away any family pets (they may become stressed or get in the way of the ambulance crew)
  • if you can, write down the patient’s GP details and collect any medications that they are taking
  • tell us if the patient has any allergies
  • stay calm

The worst first aid is do something, just making that important call could be enough to save that persons life.

Go on a first aid course and learn, practice, update your knowledge, you have got it in you to save a life.



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