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Who can I call for help?

Feb 20, 2020

It’s not always easy to know what to do in an emergency. You might not know the right person to call, or be able to remember the right phone number. Your mind may go blank and leave you unable to act, even though it’s really important that you seek help as a matter of urgency.

This is the situation you could face if you or a loved one has an accident or a fall, or in the case of a fire or other life-threatening emergency. Time is of the essence, so it’s crucial that you get help as soon as you possibly can.

The more you can prepare yourself for emergencies, the better. Making sure you know who to contact, and how to do it, is the first and most important step.

elderly calling for help

How to get help

If someone has been injured or their life is in danger, you need to call the emergency services on 999. It’s essential that you do this right away, without delaying. You can take care of lower priority issues once you know that help is on its way to you.

You can call 999 through your landline telephone or mobile phone. If you don’t have a signal, your phone should be able to make use of another network’s service in order to put the call through. If you don’t have credit on a pay as you go mobile device, don’t panic. Calls to 999 are free.

You can also access an emergency text phone on 18000 if you are deaf or have communication difficulties. If you are on holiday in Europe, you don’t need to learn the local emergency phone number as the number 112 will work in any EU country. Most EU countries also have a translation service on this emergency line, so you’ll always be able to make yourself understood.

Calls to 999 are free, and you only have to make one call even if you need multiple emergency services (fire, ambulance or police). If you aren’t sure which service you require, you can choose the most relevant and they can contact the others if needed.

A phone call isn’t the only way you can call for help. If you can’t reach a phone or your phone has no signal or battery, you can press a button on your personal alarm if you have one. These alarms have response teams standing by 24/7 in case you need them, and they work in the home and garden up to a range of 75 metres. They can contact a named friend or family member for you, or the emergency services.


Age UK Personal Alarms

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How to get medical help

If you need urgent medical help, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Don’t call non-emergency numbers such as 111, as these aren’t designed for critical situations.

Some people play down the seriousness of injuries or pain after an accident, and worry about calling emergency numbers. This is a mistake - you should always call 999 and ask for medical help, just in case. Even if your injury turns out to be less serious than you thought, it’s always worth calling 999. You will never get in trouble for using the number if you think you need it and you’ll always be given the very best level of medical care and attention.

If you can’t move or make it to the phone, hit the button on your personal alarm. You can explain the problem to the response team via loudspeaker, or they can automatically contact the emergency services for you.

How to call an ambulance

All you have to do if you need an ambulance is to dial 999 on your landline or mobile phone, ask for an ambulance and give your address. The operator may also ask you to provide some details of the medical emergency, so that they can provide assistance and instructions over the phone. This help, while you wait for the ambulance, could potentially be life-saving.

If you have an accident, such as slipping and falling in the shower, it’s not always possible to get to a phone to call 999. Again, this is where having a personal alarm on your wrist or on a pendant can save the day. After all, it could be some time before a friend or family member pops round to check on you.

With a personal alarm to hand, you don’t need a phone to access immediate emergency help. You can simply press a button and ask the team to call you an ambulance. Help will be on its way as soon as possible.

Just knowing that you have the ability to call for emergency help at the press of a button can offer great peace of mind, not only to you but your family members too. You may never need to push that button, but it’s very reassuring to know that it’s there.


Age UK Personal Alarms

Find out more


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