Making Emergency Calls


Emergency calls can save lives and protect the public from harm. Knowing how to make appropriate calls to the emergency services and the dangers of making inappropriate ones is important information for Youth Volunteers to know and to share with their friends and family. Let's find out how...


On completion PSYV's will:

  • Know how to make a 999 or 101 call

  • Know the dangers of making inappropriate 999 calls


Group room or classroom


4 to 6 hours

These activities can be done over a number of weeks or packed into two sessions.


A computer and screen (or an alternative way of being able to view the videos).

Call grade guide (PDF)

Activity 1 - Quick Starter

What are the emergency services?

In the UK there are a range of public emergency services set up to come to your rescue in times of need. See how many emergency services you can identify as part of a quick fire shout out round. You can nominate someone to write the responses on a flip chart or whiteboard. Alternatively you can work in small groups and create a mind-map of different services. Encourage group members to be as detailed as possible.

Now watch this video.

The purpose of showing this is to explain just how many different services can be deployed by any one service. This video is about the ambulance service. You could try and make a similar list for other emergency services. You can also use phones and computers to search for more answers. See if you discover any services you didn't know about. Talk about how you might share this information with friends and families.

Activity 2 - Dial 101 or 999?

There's quite a lot of confusion among the general public about when to dial 101 or 999. The 101 number was introduced to give the public better access to local police services. Invite the group to make up two charts. One which describes when you should call 101 and one that describes reasons why you should call 999. This page will give you some detailed background where you can check your group responses. Reinforce the benefits of each option. Think about and discuss ways to share this information with friends and families.

Activity 3 - Making an Emergency Call

Start by asking the group who has made an emergency call or if they know someone that has. Drill in to find out more (if known) about the actual call and how it went. This video shows you how to make a helpful emergency call. Invite the group to watch it and make a notes. Think about these questions:

  • What key information should be given?

  • What does the call handler need to know and why?

  • What kind of manner should you maintain when making a call?

  • Would any of this be different if you were making a 101 call?

Activity 4 - Call Grading

Have a look at the call grading guide in the resources section (above). Share out copies of this guide (e.g. 1 per group or per pair). Now split into groups of 3 or 4. Each group should make up an emergency scenario and present it to the other group (group members can act it out in character roles or just talk through what the scenario is). Using the call grading guide the listening group need to work out what grade of call response is needed. Then groups can swap over. It's also possible to rotate groups so that everyone gets to grade different scenarios.

Tip: Make sure adults observe and give feedback on the appropriate grade. Try not to give away the correct answer without giving group members a chance to work it out for themselves.

Activity 5 - Consequences of hoax calls

Start by inviting the group to think about hoax calls. Discuss some of these questions.

  • What do they know about them

  • What do they think about them?

  • Why do they think people make hoax calls?

  • What can we do to reduce or minimise hoax calls?

Watch these videos and pause after each one to discuss any thoughts and feedback group members have.

Every Second Counts - Ambulance Services

Jason's Story - Fire Brigade

Real Hoaxes - Police

Now that you have watched the videos, invite group members to come up with a way of discouraging people from making hoax calls. E.g.

  • Make a poster

  • Make a short video

  • Create a comedy sketch with a serious message

  • Make a social media message campaign to share with friends

  • Any ideas of your own?

Follow Up

Every year amazing new stories emerge of children that have called the emergency services. Have a look at this video from STV and as a group design a campaign to promote learning about emergency calls. You could target young children or you may have another group in mind that would benefit from some support with making emergency calls. Don't forget to share your results with the national PSYV team.


Once you have delivered this session, complete this review.

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