How to Call for an Ambulance during an Emergency
How to Make an Emergency Call
Learn how to make an emergency call and what information to provide to the dispatcher, including your location and the nature of the emergency.
Finding the Correct Emergency Number to Dial
To reach emergency services, call the corresponding number for the country you are in.
- United States: 911
- United Kingdom: 999
- Other possible numbers: 119, 995
What to Say to the Phone Operator
Providing basic information
It's essential to remain calm and provide the dispatcher with basic information about the emergency.
- location: use street names, postal codes, landmarks or name of the nearest building.
- level of the building you are in: level 16, basement B2.
- nature of the emergency: chest pain, severe bleeding, fall from a high place, etc.
How to speak
On the call, the ambulance dispatcher wants to find out as much info from the caller within the shortest period of time.
So, the caller should:
- speak clearly,
- communicate calmly, and
- to listen carefully to the dispatcher's instructions
Describing Details of Emergency
Callers will be advised to describe the nature of the emergency so that ambulance paramedics are notified before they arrive on scene.
Non-exhaustive examples of details include:
- Patient has allergy to peanuts, and had consumed ice cream with toppings.
- Medication (inhaler) was administered by the patient's son, but the 2 puffs did not relieve the breathing difficulty symptoms.
- You are a bystander who stopped in the shoulder of the highway and called for an ambulance as you witnessed a 5-car chain collision. (Traffic police will be activated to control congestion and aid in removing road hazards.)
Describe as Much as Possible
Telling us the details are extremely useful from the paramedics' point of view.
We can prepare our equipment in advance so we don't waste time prep-ing. If it's a heart issue, we'll bring our cardiac monitor. If it's choking, we're mentally prepared to do chest compressions if Hemlich or Chest Thrust fails to expel the foreign body.
Keep Your Phone with You and Switch On the Ringer
- Make sure your phone is in your line of sight.
- Make sure your phone is not on mute or on vibrate (turn on the ringer / ring tone)
- Keep the battery charged