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What to do when you ring 999

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Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a step-by-step guide on what to do when you ring 999.

Some people never need to ring 999 and for others when they do it can be a daunting experience at an already stressful time.

To help prepare people for an emergency phone call Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a handy how-to guide.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Dialling 999 is free. Your call will be answered by a BT Operator who could be located anywhere in the UK who will ask you the telephone number you are dialling from and which emergency service you need.

“They will then put you through to the fire and rescue service Control Room.”

The control room handler will then ask the caller:

•What the problem is

•The address of the incident

•Landmarks or nearby streets to help with directions

•The city/town/village or district

•What kind of incident it involves, such as is it a fire, a vehicle collision, flooding or a rescue

•If a fire is involved, more questions will be asked, such as ‘is it a car fire, a building fire, is anyone still in the building’

The fire service spokesman said: “Try not to panic, and speak clearly. The information you give may help to save lives and property.”

If you are waiting to be put through to the fire and rescue service, and a fire appliance attends the incident, please stay on the line and tell the Control Room staff that an appliance has arrived.

It is also important to apply the same calm logic when speaking to a 999 ambulance call handler.

John Fryc, a call handler who has been with East Midlands Ambulance Service for nearly 18 months, says no two days are the same.

He added: “Most people will never need to call an ambulance, and it’s not like on TV where you ring up and say ‘ambulance’ and your address and then hang up.

“People are usually surprised by all the questions, but we need to know what is wrong with the patient. “We need basic information such as if the patient is breathing, their name, age and current location.

“It can be difficult when people ring up after, say, a road traffic collision and they don’t know where they are, but we go off landmarks and points of interest.”