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English Vocabulary for Emergencies

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

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!


There’s been a theft
There’s been a burglary
I’ve been mugged
I’ve been attacked
I’ve been stabbed
My car/house has been broken into
Something has been stolen
Stop, thief!



Call for an ambulance
I need a doctor
There’s been an accident
He’s not breathing
Does anyone know how to do CPR?

  • CPR stands for ‘cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ and is a life saving technique used when someone has stopped breathing

I’ve burnt myself
I’ve cut myself
I can’t breathe
I’m having trouble breathing
I am choking
I can’t see
My eyes are stinging
I have gone into labour


Less important emergency situations:

I’m lost
We don’t know where we are
We’ve forgotten where we are 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


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