Emergencies vocabularyEnglish Vocabulary for Emergencies

There are many occasions where emergency vocabulary could be useful. Read on to discover some basic words and phrase that could help you to deal with an emergency.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation that could be life-threatening, call 999 in Britain to contact the police, ambulance or fire brigade. (The emergency number is 911 in America and 112 in Continental Europe)


emergency numbers

Emergency vocabulary

The operator will need to know which emergency service you require, what is wrong and where you are.

Try to keep calm and speak clearly.

If you have a health concern that is not an emergency, dial 111 in the UK to reach the NHS non-emergency helpline and the medical staff will advise you.

Remember, if you are out in a new place, always try to be aware of where you are.

Pay attention to the road names and any distinguishing landmarks nearby in case you need to describe your location.


Useful English phrases for emergencies:

Can someone call 999?
I need an ambulance
I need the fire brigade
I need the police
Please hurry

emergency services vocabulary


There’s a fire
The building’s on fire
Can you smell smoke?
I can smell burning
Call the fire brigade!
Where is the fire escape?


There’s been a theft
There’s been a robbery
There’s been a burglary
My car/house has been broken into
Something has been stolen
Stop, thief!

Describing what has happened to you:
I’ve been robbed
I’ve been mugged
I’ve been attacked
I’ve been raped
I’ve been molested
I’ve been stabbed
I’ve been followed
I’m being followed by someone
I’ve been threatened / someone has threatened me
I’ve been hurt

Medical Emergencies

Call for an ambulance
I need a doctor
There’s been an accident
She’s not breathing
Put her in the recovery position

  • The ‘recovery position’ is a position where an unconsious but still breathing person can be placed to keep the airways open
recovery position for medical emergencies

The recovery position

Please can someone help me?
This is a medical emergency
Is there a doctor here?
Does anyone know how to do CPR?

  • CPR stands for ‘cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ and is a life saving technique used when someone has stopped breathing
  • to give someone ‘the kiss of life’ means to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This means breathing gently into the mouth of an unconscious person to inflate and deflate their lungs to hopefully help them start breathing again

More emergencies phrases

I’ve burnt myselfcall111_logo_white
I’ve cut myself
I can’t breathe
I am in pain
My stomach hurts
My head hurts
My leg hurts
My heading is throbbing
I’m having trouble breathing
I am choking
I have a nose bleed
I think I’ve broken my arm / leg
I can’t see
My eyes are stinging
My eyes are sore
I need to see a dentist
My tooth has come out
My tooth has been knocked out
My tooth has fallen out
I’ve dislocated my shoulder
I’ve put my back out
I’ve gone into labour
I’m in labour


Less important emergency situations:

I’m lost
I don’t know where I am
I’ve forgotten where I’m staying
I’ve forgotten the name of my hotel
I’ve lost my wallet/purse/keys
I’ve locked myself out (of my house/car)
I can’t find my keys
I can’t get into my room

Share your thoughts on emergency vocabulary

Are there any phrases related to describing emergencies that you find confusing?

Can you think of more emergency vocabulary that could be useful?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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