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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Dialling 999 in an emergency

What happens when you dial 999?

When you dial 999, the first voice you'll hear is the 999 operator who will ask "Which service do you require?"

Tell them whether you need an ambulance, police, or fire and rescue. You will then hear the combined service controller. This is because the ambulan​ce and fire and rescue services are run from a combined service centre. 

The controller will ask you a number of important questions, including what the address or site is of your emergency. This is the place or area where the emergency service will be despatched. The emergency response will be sent as soon as the location of the emergency is established.

You should not hang up and should try to remain calm.

Ambulance service

Do I really need an ambulance?

A number of patients who call for an ambulance can be dealt with more effectively in their local environment by their GP, or the out-of-hours' (GP's Co-op) service.
Think before you call an ambulance and remember you should only call one in a real emergency - for example when someone has chest pain, has difficulty in breathing, may have had a stroke, has severe abdominal pain, has collapsed or had a serious accident or fall, or has overdosed.

While an ambulance crew is on one side of the Island dealing with a minor problem, someone may be experiencing a life-threatening condition where an ambulance could make all the difference. An inappropriate call can cost a life.

Out-of-hours GP service

If I need an ambulance, what else will I be asked?

The controller will ask you a number of important questions. These will include:

  • what the problem is 
  • whether the patient or casualty is breathing, conscious, the gender and (approximate) age
  • if there are any landmarks or 'reference points' nearby
  • whether there are any risks to the ambulance crew, such as someone who is violent

The controller may ask if it is possible for someone to meet the ambulance at the end of the drive, road or track.

Helping the patient while waiting for an ambulance

If appropriate, the controller will give you advice on how to help the patient or casualty until the ambulance arrives. This could include maintaining an airway, controlling bleeding, dealing with shock etc. You may be asked to call back if the patient's condition changes or worsens.

If the patient or casualty's condition is immediately life-threatening, or their life is in danger, the controller will give you simple, effective instructions on how to assist until the ambulance crew arrive to take over. This may include Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), how to deal with someone who is choking, or helping with childbirth.

What type of ambulance will be sent and what will happen?

Depending on the condition of the patient or casualty, the response you will receive may be an ambulance, a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle or the attendance of a doctor. All information about the patient or casualty is entered into a computerised system and the nearest appropriate ambulance crew is sent.

When the ambulance crew arrives, the condition of the patient or casualty will be assessed and treatment may be given at the scene.

If, after assessment, the patient's condition requires transport to the hospital, the patient will be transferred to the Emergency department at the general hospital.

Fire and rescue service

If I have a fire or rescue emergency, what else will I be asked?

The controller will ask you a number of important questions. These will include:

The type of incident:

  • fire - building, car, furze, type of building
  • road accident - how many / what type of vehicle(s) are involved, whether the vehicle is on fire 
  • sea rescue - person in water / on rocks, vessel in distress / adrift, a description of the vessel, whether people are involved and if so whether they are they easily visible
  • cliff rescue - noticeable landmarks, whether someone is in a precarious position

 Whether there are people involved and if so: 

  • are they still in the vehicle / property? 
  • are they trapped? 
  • are they injured? 
  • how many people are involved? 

If you are not the casualty, the combined controller may ask you to meet the emergency service(s) to direct them to the incident.

The controller will probably advise you about your safety at the scene until help arrives, and may ask you keep your phone switched on should they need to make further contact with you.

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