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Emergency care - adults

Always call 112 or 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

The advice on this page is for adults. Read what to do in an emergency if something happens to a baby or child.

How to phone 112 or 999

Phone the emergency services by calling 112 or 999 from any phone. Both numbers are free of charge.

112 works in any EU country and from any phone.

Speech or hearing impairment

If you cannot make a voice call, you can text 112 in an emergency.

This should only be used when it's not possible to make a voice call. For example, for people who are deaf or have any problem with speech.

Calling an ambulance

In a medical emergency, ask for an ambulance.

When you get connected to the ambulance service, you will need to know:

  • the phone number you are calling from - so that if you get disconnected, they can call you back
  • the address or the location of where you are
  • what has happened

It is very helpful to give the Eircode, if you know it. Once they have your location, they will send an ambulance.

The emergency call taker will continue to ask you questions. This does not delay the ambulance getting to you.


Only call an ambulance for serious emergencies. This means they can respond to people who need help the most.

How you can help

They may give you instructions over the phone to help the patient. Listen carefully. Tell them if the patient's condition changes in any way. The emergency call taker will stay on the call as long as possible.

There are a few things you can do to help the paramedics.

Try to stay calm and:

  • if you're in the street, stay with the patient until help arrives
  • call the ambulance service back if the patient's condition changes
  • call the ambulance service back if your location changes
  • if you're calling from home or work, ask someone to open the door and direct them to where they're needed
  • lock away pets safely
  • write down the patient's GP details and collect any medication they're taking, if you can
  • tell the paramedics about any allergies the patient has, if you can

If the emergency is not life-threatening

If urgent medical attention is not needed, consider other options before calling 112 or 999.

For example:

  • go to your local emergency department using your own transport - arriving in an ambulance does not mean you'll be seen quicker
  • go to your local injury unit - for injuries that are not life-threatening
  • call your GP
  • talk to a pharmacist

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