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First aid is the initial help you provide, but you will need to activate the emergency medical services or the EMS to help you and take over the treatment of the patient. It does not matter which emergency service you require, the phone number is the same. Delaying in activating the EMS will affect the patient's chance of recovery, increases pain and could lead to further complications. The number you need to call is 999, or you can call the European-wide emergency number 112. They both work the same. You can dial from a mobile or a landline phone. If you are in Europe, you need to call 112 to activate the emergency medical service. When you are making the call, think about putting your phone on a hands-free or speakerphone so you can still deal with the patient while speaking to the emergency services.

By doing this, they can guide you through what you need to do. Depending on what has happened, they will rate the call in terms of priority. For example, if you have a patient who is not breathing, it will be a category A call, and help will be sent as a priority, if it's someone with an injury that is not life-threatening like a fractured arm, an ambulance will be sent, but it will not be a higher category as a cardiac arrest. First, you will be asked which service you require, this could be ambulance, fire, police, Coast Guard, mountain rescue, or any other service. The EMS may send out other services as well as the one you think you want as they then may be able to help you.

You need to say briefly what has happened so that the operator can help you better. If they need to know more, they will ask you. The EMS can decide exactly what service to send and how many of each unit. You need to give them exact instructions on your location, tell them exactly where you are and any other information that they are likely to need. If you do not know your exact location, consider using what three words or location apps on your phone that can give you your exact location down to a three-meter square. The EMS may be able to track your location using a landline number or track your mobile location from cell towers. The operator can stay on the line and give you help and guidance and also reassure you. They can help you the best they can to give you the confidence to deal with the situation you are faced with. Another thing you can do is to make sure that the scene is safe and easy for the emergency services when they arrive.

If you are at home, unlock all the doors, turn the lights on and open up the front door so they know they can come straight in, so you can continue caring for the patient until they take over. Another thing that will help you is lock away your pets, so it is safe when emergency services do arrive. In a workplace setting, tell other people and the reception that you are expecting the EMS, so they know where to send them to. The EMS may go to reception, and if they do not know what has happened, they are not sure exactly where you are, and this can delay time. Ideally, if there are others, send someone to meet the EMS and guide them to your exact location.

If you are getting someone else to call emergency services, give them clear instructions like, "Can you go and dial 999 and ask for an ambulance? Tell them we have a non-breathing adult and we are delivering CPR. We are at 22 West Side Center, London Road Colchester, and come back and tell me what they say." A sentence like this is clear and you are asking them to come back and tell you what is said, so you know the EMS are coming and when. There are other ways to call emergency services, it may be you are working offshore in a boat or in a remote area or an area where mobile phones do not work. In these cases, you may be using two-way radios or satellite phones to activate emergency medical services. Make sure you know how to use these and where they are kept, avoiding delays in an emergency. If you're hard of hearing, you can also notify the emergency services by text messages. On the download area of this course, we have put a leaflet on how to set this up.

Finally, if you have called the EMS and they are on their way, and anything changes or you need an update, you can call them back again and they will stay on the line if needed to help you.