Information - How do you get help?

Background information for Key Stage 3 and parents.

Choosing the right service

When someone is injured or unwell, we need to consider which service would be best for the casualty. These days it is common to hear there are no ambulances left or Accident and Emergency is full, but do we really need an ambulance? We should only
be calling an ambulance when it is a life-threatening emergency.

The NHS promotes a range of services.

NHS poster of which service to access when feeling unwell and the cost to the NHS for each intervention

Ways to call an ambulance

When there is a life-threatening emergency, we can contact for emergency support in the following ways:

Phone call

Lady next to a female casualty on mobile phone calling for help

We can contact the emergency service by dialling the freephone number:

  • 999 - the original UK emergency service number
  • 112 - the European wide emergency number

When we call the number, we will speak to an operator who will ask which service you require. They will transfer you to the local call centre and verify the phone number to the emergency services call handler, before connecting your call.

Text message

Lady sending SMS text message on phone

You can request support by sending an SMS text message to 999 emergency services, where:

  • you cannot call for help, for example where talking would risk your safety
  • you have a hearing impairment
  • you have problems with talking
  • your signal is to low to make a call

To use the service you must have pre-registered in advance by texting register to 999. You will receive text instructions to complete your registration and once complete you will be ready to use the service. Do not wait for when you have
an emergency.

When you do have an emergency, text the following:

  • Who? The emergency service you require
  • What? Briefly describe the problem
  • Where? Provide an exact location

You will receive a reply with further information. If you do not get a reply, contact the emergency service through another method.

International Distress Signal

Lady in wood blowing whistle in an emergency

If you sustain an injury out in the countryside where you cannot get yourself to safety and you have no mobile phone or mobile phone signal, utilise the international distress signal.

The international distress signal is either 6 short blast on a whistle or 6 quick flashes of torchlight repeated every minute.

You should keep the international distress signal going until help has found you and is with you. Once you have started the international distress signal, do not stop and move, as you think no-one is coming, you may just not have seen them yet.

Information to tell the emergency services

Once you have identified that a casualty needs emergency services and you know whether they are breathing or not, use one of the contact methods. They will ask you a set of questions and you will need the information below. The more information
you can give them, the better they can prioritise the help you need. You do not need to tell the story of the whole incident or what people have done, just provide the key facts about casualties condition and any key treatments provided.

OOther services
NNumber of casualties
EExtent of injuries
LLocation - repeat

It is important to give the exact location details, so the emergency service can find you quickly. You can provide them building number, street, postcode, recognisable landmarks and grid references. If you have people around you, have someone
go to meet the emergency services and direct them to you, especially when you are in a hard place to find.

When calling for help, think about other services you may need, for example, have they be assaulted and you need police or are they trapped and you need fire brigade to help release them.

Consider the image below

Look at the image below. What information would you provide to the emergency services?

Man lying on ground with leg caught in rung of ladder with open fracture to leg

Information to consider

Call 999 and ask for the Ambulance Service.

LYour location
IMan has fallen on a ladder and has a broken leg
1Number of casualties
EThe casualty is male and in their late 50s. He is conscious (awake) and is breathing. Their left leg is caught in the first rung of the ladder. It has an open wound which appears broken. There are no other signs of injury.
LYour location

Frequently asked questions

  1. I have heard that if I do not have a mobile signal I can still make a call?

    If there is no mobile network coverage in the area from any provider, you will not be able to make an emergency call. If your provider does not have coverage, but another provider does have network coverage, your phone may display SOS only.
    This means there agreement for your provider to use the other provider's network for emergency calls. You can always try to call if there is no signal, but if there is no network in the area, it will not work.