ATP Template with bundler



The what3words system enables the emergency services to find someone more easily.

When people call 999 they often struggle to describe their location, what3words helps them say exactly where they are, saving precious response time.

How does it work?

The system works by assigning 3 distinct words for every 3 square metre grid square on a map.

You must have the what3words app on your phone (which you can download on both Android and iOS from the link in Related Information). Then in an emergency:

  • Find the 3 word address for your current location on the free what3words app. It works offline – ideal for areas with an unreliable data connection.
  • Share your 3 word address over the phone to the call handler.
  • The emergency service can then coordinate a response directly to the exact location where help is needed.

Please see the official what3words website in Related Information if you wish to know more.


The government has prepared information about what to do in an emergency, they list specific emergencies and also provide basic first aid tips. If you would like more information please see the Gov.UK website in Related Information.

The following information is taken directly from the government website: preparing for emergencies.

To prepare for an emergency, you should take time to find out:

    • Where and how to turn off water, gas and electricity supplies in your home
    • The emergency procedures for your children at school
    • The emergency procedures at your workplace
    • How your family will stay in contact in the event of an emergency
    • If any elderly or vulnerable neighbours might need your help
    • How to tune in to your local radio station or access local news online

If you are at home and an emergency happens, try to gather together:

    • A list of useful phone numbers, such as your doctor's and close relatives
    • Home and car keys
    • Toiletries, sanitary supplies and any regularly prescribed medication
    • A battery radio with spare batteries
    • A torch with spare batteries, candles and matches
    • A First Aid kit
    • Your mobile phone
    • Cash and credit cards
    • Spare clothes and blankets

Also, it is always useful to have:

    • Bottled water, ready-to-eat food (e.g. tinned food) and a bottle/tin opener, in case you have to remain in your home for several days

In certain very unlikely situations, you may be asked to leave your home by the emergency services. If this happens, leave as quickly and calmly as possible. And, if you have time:

    • Turn off electricity, gas and water supplies, unplug appliances and lock all doors and windows
    • See the items listed above for what to take with you
    • If you leave by car, take bottled water and blankets, and tune in to local radio for emergency advice and instructions or access local news online

When you are told that it is safe to return home, open windows to provide fresh air before reconnecting gas, electricity and water supplies.

The above information is Crown copyright and is reproduced with permission.


Listed below are a few examples of emergencies when it would be necessary to call 999. This is not however an exhaustive list and common sense must prevail.

General circumstances of an incident reported to the police, when there is or likely to be:

    • danger to life
    • use, or immediate threat of use, of violence
    • Serious injury to a person and/or
    • serious damage to property

Criminal conduct

    • the crime is, or likely to be serious and in progress
    • an offender has just been disturbed at the scene
    • an offender has been detained and poses, or is likely to pose, a risk to other people

Road traffic accident

    • involves, or is likely to involve, serious personal injury
    • the road is blocked or there is a dangerous or excessive build up of traffic.

If you don't require an emergency response, you can contact your local police force via 101.

The SMS Emergency (e-SMS) service is provided for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, as an alternative option for contacting an emergency 999 service. You must register your mobile phone on the e-SMS website to be able to use this text service, please see the link in related information for details on how to register.


Yes, 112 is the single European emergency number. The number should only be used in an emergency as with 999. Please see Q484 for information on what would be considered an emergency.

This means that wherever you are in the European Union you can dial 112 from a mobile or land line and you will be put through to the emergency services in the country you are in.

The number has been introduced so that visitors to other countries within Europe do not have to remember a lot of different numbers for the emergency services. The calls are dealt with in exactly the same way as they would be if the caller had rung the national number for emergencies.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

If you can't find the answer?

Submit A Question