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What Happens When You Call

When you call 999, you will get an operator who will ask you what emergency service you require. In the case of a medical emergency ask for an ambulance, this will put you through to one of our Emergency Medical Dispatchers.

When you are put through to an emergency Medical Dispatcher, they will ask you 3 questions first:

  • The address or location of the incident, along with the postcode if possible.
  • The number of the phone you are calling from
  • Description of the problem and what happened

This information is important for getting the initial help sent out.  Following this you may be asked for more details:

  • The patient’s age, sex and medical history, if you know it
  • Is the patient currently conscious, breathing, bleeding or suffering from chest pain?
  • Further details of the problem/injury and how it happened

The questions should be answered clearly and quickly and are asked to enable us make sure the most appropriate help is sent to you – answering these questions will not delay us, but it will help us give you important first aid advice while our staff are on their way.

In these types of emergencies, the Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) will relay specific clinical instructions for you to follow until help arrives.

These situations include:

  • Airway management for the unconscious patient;
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) eg chest compressions, mouth to mouth;
  • Clearing a fully obstructed airway on a choking patient;
  • Assisting with childbirth.

In these situations or where the patient appears unstable, the EMD will stay on the line with you until help arrives providing you with constant assistance and reassurance.

To find out more, click on the following links:

What to do before help arrives

Response Categories Explained

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