What happens when you dial 112?

When you dial 112 (or 999), your emergency call is answered at a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

The specially trained call-taker will request you to state which service you require (i.e. An Garda Siochaná, Fire Service, Ambulance Service or Coast Guard) and will also check your location with you. The call is then transferred to the Emergency Service Control Centre you requested based on your location and handled accordingly.


There may be some incidences (for example road traffic accidents) where more than one Emergency Service is required. It is recommended that you make a judgment on which service is required by calling 112 (or 999) and request this service. Once the Emergency Service operator is made aware of the need for multiple Emergency Services to attend, there is a procedure in place for alerting the other services to attend at the scene of the incident. There is no need to make calls to each Emergency Service one call is sufficient but make sure you advise the Emergency Service operator of the need for other Emergency Services also.

One of the most important pieces of information needed is your location or the location of the incident. In some cases, the Emergency Service may know your location but don’t presume this is the case. It is quite possible that the incident is different to the callers location and so due care needs to be taken by the Emergency Service.

Depending on which emergency service you request, some of the typical questions that are asked are as follows:

•The exact address of the incident or emergency and/or any noticeable landmarks nearby
•Directions to the scene of the emergency
•The telephone number you are calling from
•Details on the incident itself, the number of persons involved, the description of any visible injuries and knowledge of any pre-existing medical conditions

It is important to wait for the call-takers instructions, try and stay calm and don’t hang up until they tell you to.

Depending on the nature of the incident, it is important to keep your phone on as the Emergency Service may need to call you back and get more information. It is also important, for medical emergencies, to monitor the patient’s condition and if it changes to call back again. If you are calling from the street, stay with the patient.

If you are calling from home, unlock the doors and lock up any pets. If the patient is known to you, try and assemble any health documentation. Have someone check that all the doors and windows are locked after you leave and ensure all electrical appliances are turned off.