What happens when you call 999?

I was recently involved in a discussion within a forum about what happens when you call the Emergency Services.  It became apparent that not everyone’s understanding and expectations are the same and it didn’t match what is likely to happen.  So I thought this week I would discuss it in my blog.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service and East Midlands Service have put some information online too but I shall discuss what I believe to be the most important aspects.

Firstly, remember the person on the other end of the phone is trained to help you.  They are not trying to hinder or delay your help but they will have some questions for you.  When you first dial 999 you will get through to the Emergency Operator who will put you through to the appropriate control room, depending on the service you need.  If you need more than one or you need Mountain Rescue then ask for the Police.  I’m going to concentrate on what happens when you ask for an ambulance.

Initially the Dispatcher will ask your telephone number, the address of the emergency and briefly what has happened so they can start to input your details and get your help to you.  Depending on the nature of the emergency they will then ask you some further questions.  Answer these questions as clearly and as calmly as you can manage, this information will ensure you receive the right help in the most timely manner.

So the conversation may go something like this:-

Q.”Emergency – which service do you require?”
A. “Ambulance” – you then get put through to ambulance dispatcher who will take your telephone number and location of the emergency

 

Q.Can you tell me what is the emergency?
A. Someone has collapsed

 

Q.Are they breathing normally?
A. No

 

You will now get help and support to do CPR and use your AED and will get a category 1 response

 

OR:-

 

Q.”Emergency – which service do you require?”
A. “Ambulance” – you then get put through to ambulance dispatcher who will take your telephone number and location of the emergency

 

Q.Can you tell me what is the emergency?
A. Someone has collapsed

 

Q.Are they breathing normally?
A. Yes

 

Q.Are they awake?
A…………

 

What you answer here on in will determine the response you get, the first question filters you onto the right flowchart and then the subsequent questions help them determine what help you need.

The questions are carefully structured to enable a yes or no answer.  This is why I always stress when teaching that the person going to the phone must have all the relevant information, such as are they breathing normally, are they awake, are they changing colour.

Once your help is on the way they may stay on the line with you or ask you to ring back if there is any change or deterioration in their condition.

As I’ve indicated above your quickest and easiest way to timely help is to answer their questions.  It is not the same process as when a medical emergency is declared within an acute hospital.

I hope you found this blog useful, you may also like:-

What is the difference between 999 and 112?

How to be ready for your ambulance

If you would like to discuss your training needs, please contact me; or if you have any comments or questions please comment below.