What happens when I call 999?

Please remember YOU DO NOT GET SEEN ANY FASTER AT A&E IF YOU ARRIVE BY AMBULANCE but NEVER be afraid to ring them if emergency help is required.

The decision to call 999

Having to call 999 is not the call that any of us want to make as it means there is an emergency and help is needed urgently. The decision will vary, but some examples include

  • a person appears not to be breathing
  • a person is unconscious and unresponsive
  • is having chest pain, difficulty breathing or experiencing weakness or numbness
  • experiencing severe bleeding that you are unable to stop with direct pressure
  • a person has had a fit for the first time, even if they seem to recover
  • a person is having a severe allergic reaction to something which is accompanied by severe difficulty in breating
  • a child is severely burnt
  • a person has fallen from a height and there is a possibility of a spinal injury

What happens when you dial 999 (or 112)

When you call 999 you will speak to a BT Operator who will ask “Emergency, which service“? Fire, police, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue are all appropriate answers. For the purpose of this blog ambulance, however if you want Fire, police and ambulance still say ambulance and the ambulance service will contact Fire and Police if required.

Once you are transferred to Ambulance the call taker will say…

  1. Ambulance, is the patient breathing?
  2. Is the patient awake?

If the answer to any of these two questions is No, then it triggers a Category 1 call and an Ambulance will be dispatched at this point before they have an address

Then you will be asked for the address of the emergency, from there the call taker will talk you through hands only CPR (if you have been taught CPR and Rescue Breathing AND are happy to do, then do both – but remember your training and that priority is to good quality CPR)

If you answer YES to the two questions, the call handler will ask the caller “Tell me exactly what’s happened?”

The call handler will listen to you very carefully as they have a list of automatic Category 1 triggers, such as Allergic Reaction, Major Trauma, Choking, etc. if any of these are clicked then a Category 1 again will be generated

If no Category 1 triggers are heard then the call taker will type in the chief complaint for example “Chest Pain” which will automatically be allocated a call category. The system will then generate questions to ask you the caller and depending on what is wrong, it will reassess the call category to determine your priority.

What should you do whilst waiting for an ambulance?

If doing CPR and Rescue Breaths then continue doing so and stay on the line to the ambulance call handler

If not doing CPR then

  • Stay with the patient until the ambulance crew or community first responder arrives and call back if the patient condition or location changes
  • If your house name and / or number is not clearly visible from the roadside, ask someone to open the door and signal to the emergency team where they are required AND if possible switch on outside lights and car lights
  • If it is dark, turn on house lights and pull back curtains
  • Lock away family pets
  • If possible, collect any medication being taken by the patient
  • Stay calm

When the ambulance arrives

If you are undertaking CPR and / or Rescue Breathing DO NOT STOP until the emergency crew asks you to! They will assess the patient’s clinical condition and treatment given prior to taking over the scene.

About Us

Rutland First Aid training provides a full suite of first aid training all tailored to your needs. We strongly recommend that everyone has some basic first aid skills, so why not attend one of our CPR and AED courses and know how to do CPR.. you could be the difference between your family member or even work colleagues survival

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information

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