How to prepare for an emergency

In an emergency, it can be difficult to think clearly. Being prepared can help you to act faster.

Knowing what to do in a medical emergency and who to call can save lives.

You can prepare for an emergency by:

  • learning the emergency numbers 112 and 999
  • knowing your Eircode, address and being able to give clear directions to your home
  • writing a list of useful phone numbers
  • doing CPR and first aid training
  • downloading a first aid app to your phone

If you have children, teach them what to do in an emergency. Show them where they can find your phone number and Eircode.

Directions to your home

Clear directions to your address and your Eircode can help an ambulance crew find you faster.

Find your Eircode

Write down directions to your home that are easy to follow.

List of useful numbers

Write down your Eircode and important phone numbers. Keep this list somewhere at home where you can easily find it.

Everyone in your home should know where they can find this list.

Your list of useful numbers should include:

  • 112 and 999 emergency numbers - 112 also works in all EU countries and from any phone, free of charge
  • your home's Eircode
  • your GP's number
  • your local GP out-of-hours service
  • your nearest hospital emergency department that sees children, if you have children
  • Poisons Information Line on 01 809 2166 - open 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week
  • your pharmacist or chemist
  • your mobile number
  • your work number, if you have one
  • family members and neighbours

If you have children, make sure anyone who looks after your child has this list too.

First aid training

The Irish Heart Foundation offers certified training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

This includes training on how to give CPR to babies and children, as well as adults.

Find out more about CPR courses on the Irish Heart Foundation website - irishheart.ie

First aid training is also available from:

First aid apps

The Irish Red Cross has a free app for your phone called First Aid – IFRC.

St John's Ambulance also has a free app available on iTunes and Google Play.

First aid kit

A first aid kit can help you deal with minor injuries. You should keep it locked and store it out of the reach of young children.

Teach your child what to do

Teach your child the 112 and 999 numbers, their home address and Eircode. They may be alone when an emergency happens.

You can rehearse emergency situations to help prepare them for real-life events. This should make them feel prepared rather than afraid.

Put the numbers 112 and 999, your home address and your Eircode in a place where your child can easily see it.

Children should be taught that phoning 112 or 999 is not a game. Phoning the emergency number when it's not an emergency can stop help from reaching those who genuinely need it.

Phones no longer in use should not be used as a toy. Without a SIM card, phones can still make emergency calls.

If your child has seizures

If your child is diagnosed with a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, ask their doctor for instructions on what to do if they have a seizure.

Keep the instructions somewhere that is easy to access. Make sure that everyone who cares for your child knows where these instructions are.

Page last reviewed: 19 October 2022
Next review due: 19 October 2025