How to dial 999

How to Dial 999

Many people will never have to telephone the emergency services, but if you have to, either for yourself or someone else, follow the simple guide:

  • Lift the receiver and dial 999 – it’s Free of Charge
  • Your call will be answered quickly by a B.T. operator who will say, “Emergency, which service do you require?”
  • According to the area you are calling from, you will be connected to the Fire and Rescue Control Centre and hear details of the telephone number you are calling from. The Fire Control Operator will ask how can we help.
  • Tell the operator what the emergency is, then:
  • Stay Calm, Do not Shout, Pass your information slowly and clearly
  • Give details of the address or location where help is needed.
  • Being as accurate as you can, give the property number, street or road name, and the full town, village, or parish name. The postcode is valuable too but not essential.
  • Landmarks may assist the fire crews to locate the address and in remote areas directions from main roads are very useful.
  • Be ready to give some more details to the Fire Brigade operator. They may ask several questions about the emergency, for example. Is there a fire, is it in a building or outside, or has there been a traffic accident and is anyone trapped or hurt?
  • Listen to any questions you are being asked, as this will help the operator to send the most suitable fire engines and equipment to deal with the emergency.
  • Stay on the line even if you hear the sirens close by…. They may not be coming to you.
  • Remember, in the event of a fire:     

Get Out...Call the Fire Service Out...And Stay Out 

Help us to help you

If you have called the Fire and Rescue Service and are awaiting their arrival, there are several things you may be able to do to help us help you.Attract the attention of the fire crew from a safe place as they approach. This is to assist them to locate your property, as it may not be immediately obvious.


You may be asked the following by the Fire Officer in charge:      

  • What is on fire?      
  • Where is the fire?      
  • Is anybody trapped or missing?      
  • Is anybody injured?


Try to stay calm and be as accurate as possible when answering. This will help the Fire Officer decide what action to take.


If you are speech or hearing impaired Contact 999 by SMS (text from a mobile phone)

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