Unsure what to do in an emergency? Calling the emergency services could be the difference between life and death in some cases.
In an emergency situation, we must have the confidence to take action and help the person or people in need. Unfortunately in a lot of situations, the more people there are around the less likely it is that someone will intervene and help, as they may feel it is not their responsibility, but calling 999 is the least you can do to help save someone's life.
So when would we call 999? This is an emergency phone line and should only be used in the most serious situations, such as unconsciousness, somebody not breathing, Anaphylaxis, or serious bleeds. If you are unsure, you can get advice from calling 111. If it is serious, they will provide the same assistance as 999. You can also register to text the emergency services if you are deaf or hard of hearing.
When you call 999, they will ask which service you require. Most medical emergencies will call for the ambulance, but you may need the fire brigade if somebody is trapped or if there is a fire risk. If you are unsure, just tell them and they will ask you some questions about the situation. The questions they will ask include:
Where are you? - they will generally ask this question first so they can dispatch paramedics as quickly as possible. If you are unsure about your location, give them some identifiable landmarks or use what3words.
Is the patient breathing/conscious? - if you haven't already, you must find out if they are breathing or conscious. You can conduct the primary survey to find this out.
What happened? - if you or someone around you witnessed the event, describe in as much detail as possible so they can pass this onto the emergency services.
Once they have confirmed an ambulance is on its way, do not hang up the phone - they may ask you to assist the patient/s further by placing them in the recovery position, starting CPR and early defibrillation, administering medication such as an Autoinjector, etc.
Calling 999 is an essential part in giving First Aid and something that can be taught to any age. This subject is a big part of our First Aid for Primary School Children programmes and workshops. To find out more about the subjects we teach and our workshops, please click the button below.