Emergency Services Numbers in the UK: Your Comprehensive Guide (2023)

In the bustling environment of a foreign country, ensuring your safety is paramount, and being prepared for emergencies is a vital aspect of it. As a newcomer to the UK, understanding the emergency services and their contact details is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we provide you with essential information on how to handle emergencies and the contact numbers you need to know.

What Would You Do During An Emergency In The UK?

In the event of a medical emergency, dialing 999 from any phone connects you to the UK's national emergency response service. Additionally, 112 is the pan-European equivalent of 999 and is legally recognized in the UK. The call operator, upon connection, will ask vital questions to assess the situation. If it's deemed life-threatening, an ambulance is dispatched promptly.

For urgent but non-life-threatening medical situations, contacting the National Health Service (NHS) at 111 provides guidance. This service allows you to consult with a nurse, pharmacist, or schedule a face-to-face consultation. NHS urgent care centers or your local hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department are alternative options.

How Are Emergencies Categorised In The UK?

When reaching out to emergency services, understanding the severity categories aids dispatchers in prioritizing responses:

  1. Category One: Potentially fatal injuries or diseases (e.g., cardiac arrest).

    • Average Response Time: 7 minutes
  2. Category Two: Emergency calls, such as those from stroke victims.

    • Average Response Time: 7 minutes
  3. Category Three: Emergency calls for issues like abdominal pains or situations addressable at home.

    • Average Response Time: 120 minutes
  4. Category Four: Non-emergency calls (e.g., nausea, diarrhea).

    • Average Response Time: 180 minutes

For those unable to make a phone call, emergency services can be contacted via text message after registering with the emergency SMS service by texting ‘register’ to 999.

Fire Services In The UK

In the case of a fire, dialing 999 immediately connects you to the fire department. It's crucial to provide accurate information about the fire's location and whether anyone is trapped within the premises. Avoid calling local fire stations and assume that someone else has reported the incident.

Police In The UK

The police in the UK offer various services, and calling 999 is reserved for genuine emergencies. Before making the call, consider if someone is in immediate danger, if immediate assistance is required, or if the situation may escalate. For non-emergencies, dial 101, and there are specialized numbers for specific crimes such as the Anti-terrorist hotline (0800 789 321) or Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

Health Emergency Services Numbers In The UK

For minor medical emergencies or accidents, dialing 111 connects you to an advisory service to locate the best local assistance. A&E departments in large hospitals handle more severe cases like loss of consciousness, strokes, chest discomfort, breathing difficulty, or severe burns.

Power & Outage Services In The UK

In case of a power outage, dial 105 to inform UK Power Networks. Monitoring a live Power Map for updates is also possible if you have an internet connection.

Report Scams Hotline

If you encounter a potential scam, immediately hang up and dial 159 to report the call. An operator will assist you in safely contacting your actual bank.


  • What is 111 and 999 in the UK?

    • The non-emergency medical hotline is 111, while 999 is the emergency number for summoning police, fire, ambulance, or other emergency services in life-threatening situations.
  • What is the difference between 999 and 112?

    • 999 is the primary emergency number in the UK, whereas 112 is the secondary emergency number in the EU, including the UK.
  • What happens if I dial 112 in the UK?

    • Dialing 112 in the UK, similar to 999, connects you to emergency services for quick assistance.
  • What is the non-emergency call UK?

    • The non-emergency number in the UK is 101, intended for reporting crimes, incidents, or requesting non-urgent police help.
  • What are the 5 emergency services UK?

    • The police, fire and rescue, ambulance, coastguard, and mountain rescue constitute the five emergency services in the UK, addressing crises related to public health, safety, and rescue efforts.

Thank you for exploring this detailed guide on Emergency Services Numbers in the UK. For further insightful reads, check out our related blogs on topics like Mental Health Improvement and International Money Transfer for Students. Looking for student accommodation abroad? .

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