In an emergency

In an emergency, would you know what to do?

A medical emergency is  when someone has a very serious health problem. Act quickly and keep as calm as possible.

  1. Call 999 immediately.
  2. Tell the person who answers your name and where you are.
  3. Describe the situation quickly and clearly. Ask what you should do until help arrives.

Crucial: Not sure which health service you need?  Download the Health & Care app to help you make the best health choices. 

How do I know if it’s an emergency?

Any condition on this list requires immediate attention:

  • Drug overdose/poisoning
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Deep wounds such as stab wounds
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Head injury
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe chest pain
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Starting to give birth
  • Severe mental distress
  • Septicaemic rash (a rash that does not fade when pressed with a glass), possibly suggesting meningitis.

While you're waiting for help:


  • Move the person
  • Remove a crash helmet (if they’re wearing one)
  • Give the person anything to eat, drink or smoke
  • Leave the person unattended
  • Put your own life in danger.


  • Keep the person warm and quiet
  • Stay calm
  • Tell the ambulance driver if you know that the person took a drug.  You can't get into trouble for this.

If someone is unconscious

Call 999. Get help from other people. Try not to leave the person alone for too long.

It can be helpful to learn a few basics about first aid. Check out the St John’s Ambulance website, you can sign up for a first aid course - you never know when it might come in handy!