Dialling the 999 System
When you dial 999, your call will be answered by a telephone exchange operator who will ask you which emergency service you require and the telephone number that you are dialling from. You must then stay on the line where you will then be connected to the Fire and Rescue Control Room in the area you are calling from, not the local fire station.
As you are being connected to the Fire and Rescue Service you will hear the telephone exchange operator passing your telephone number to the fire brigade control operator.
The Control Operator Will Ask You Some Questions
- What is on fire?
- What is the address?
- What is the nearest main road?
- What town are you in?
Why are these questions asked?
- We need to know what is on fire or what other emergency you have to enable us to decide what our response will be.
- We need to know the address where the emergency is. This information is entered into our computer database to start a search of the address.
- The nearest main road assists us in narrowing the search which saves time.
- Fire and Rescue Services can cover complete counties and knowing which town you are in within the county will save time in locating the incident. This will complete the search and locate the correct address.
- We need to know the telephone number that you are calling from, so that we can contact you again if we need any further information from you. This information is not given to anyone other than emergency service personnel.
- Giving your address can be useful. This can be used as guidance to where the fire has been seen from.
- If you are unfamiliar with the area and are unable to give a precise address you will be asked for any landmarks that you can see.
- It may seem as though you are being asked too many questions and your call is taking too long to deal with. Don’t worry, the Fire and Rescue Service will already be on the way whilst you are still talking to the Operator.
What Happens Next?
Emergency calls to the Fire and Rescue Control Room are handled, from receipt of the call to mobilising the Fire Appliance, in less than 60 seconds.
If you have a fire – Do not attempt to extinguish it unless it is safe to do so. Leave the property, closing all the doors behind you and do not go back in to the property until you are told it is safe to do so by the firefighters who attend.
If you are trapped in a fire situation and are unable to leave your properly safely, the fire control operator will stay on the line with you and give you fire survival guidance to help you until the fire engine arrives.