Response Categories Explained
During 2020/21 the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service answered 226,271 emergency 999 calls with an ambulance arriving at the scene of an incident on 174,510 occasions.
As a regional ambulance service we operate from one Emergency Ambulance Control (EAC) Centre in Belfast. Every time we receive a 999 call from a member of the public, our call handlers known as Emergency Medical Dispatchers use advanced bespoke software systems to assess 999 calls based on the clinical/medical condition of the patient as provided by callers. These systems also allow our Ambulance Control staff to provide those making a 999 call with pre-arrival medical advice in advance of the ambulance arriving with them. It also permits us to prioritise calls to ensure those in need receive the appropriate response.
The 5 call categories are as follows:
Category 1 (C1) – potentially life-threatening injuries and illnesses
Category 2 (C2) – serious but non-life-threatening emergency calls
Category 3 (C3) – urgent calls
Category 4 (C4) – less urgent calls
Category 5 (C5) – hear and treat
Responses standard times range from 8 minutes for an immediately life-threatening emergencies and up to 4 hours for less urgent calls.
We have a range of highly-skilled operational staff and clinicians who will treat our patients.
999 calls are responded to by the nearest available ambulance or appropriate resource.