Calling an Ambulance

Nobody wants to have to call an ambulance but you should always call 112 or 999 in a life-threatening emergency, if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk.
Examples of medical emergencies include (but are not limited to):

  • Chest pain
  • difficulty in breathing
  • unconsciousness
  • severe loss of blood
  • severe burns or scalds
  • choking
  • fitting or concussion
  • drowning
  • severe allergic reactions.

What to Expect When You Make a Call

1. Your call will be answered initially by an operator who will ask which service you are requesting, Police, Fire or Ambulance. Ask for Ambulance and you will be transferred to the National Ambulance Service Control Centre. They will ask you to confirm the number you are calling from (including an extension if you are calling from work.)

Emergency Dispatch Call Taker - National Ambulance Service

2. When your call is answered by a Call Taker they will ask a series of questions. The first question is ‘what’s the exact address of the emergency?’ When providing the address, include as much detail as you can e.g. the business name, apartment/unit name and number. Knowing your Eircode is really helpful especially at rural or difficult to find locations. Find Your Eircode. You will be asked to repeat the address in full. It takes a few seconds, but longer if you argue. The nearest available ambulance is located as soon as the address is confirmed.

3. You will then be asked about the emergency – ‘Okay, tell me exactly what happened?’.

4.The Call Taker will then ask specific questions relating to the reason for your call. These questions are necessary to arrange the best care for the patient. Possible questions include the following:

  • Are you with the patient?
  • How old is the patient?
  • Is the patient awake?
  • Is the patient breathing?

NB: If the patient is not awake and not breathing you will be immediately instructed to start Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) while an ambulance is dispatched and the nearest available defibrillator is located. CLICK HERE for location of Defibrillators in County Leitrim.

5. Whilst the Call Taker is taking all the relevant information a Dispatcher will already be arranging the most appropriate help for the patient.

6. Once all the information has been gathered the Call Taker will provide instructions to assist you/the patient until help arrives, If necessary the Call Taker will stay on the line to give you support and further instructions until help arrives. During this time you might be asked some additional questions to provide as much information as possible.

PLEASE DON’T HANG UP UNTIL THE CALL TAKER ADVISES YOU CAN.

To contact an Out of Hours Doctor Service

In the case of lesser injuries or illness, call your out of hours doctor service. If they think an ambulance is required they will tell you.

South Leitrim/Roscommon/Donegal GP Out of Hours Service, NoWDOC – 1850 400 911

North Leitrim,  Sligo, West Cavan GP Out of Hours Service, CareDoc – 0818 365 399

For details of services across Ireland CLICK HERE.

Special thanks to Tracey Ferguson from Leitrim PPN for creating this content.