Tourist Information UK

Emergency Services

The three most commonly used emergency services in the UK are the police, fire service and emergency medical service. Other services available include mountain rescue, cave rescue, coastguard and lifeboat.

You must only call the emergency services number in the case of a real emergency. You should not call them because you get locked out of your house or if you have a nose bleed for example.

To contact the services in case of an emergency, you call 999 or 112. These calls can be made from any phone and are free of charge.


The police deal with the safety of the community and act to reduce crime towards people and property. As a tourist the most likely reason to contact the police would be if your purse was stolen.

Fire Service

The fire service deal with fire and rescue operations. They also attend other emergencies and it is quite common to see a fire engine at a car crash.

Emergency medical service

The emergency medical service provides ambulances and staff to deal with medical emergencies. An ambulance would usually be called if someone is hurt too badly to be taken to the ER by a friend.

Mountain rescue

Mountain rescue helps those who are lost or injured on Britain’s mountains, fell or moorland. Mobile phone signal is unreliable in these areas and it is recommended that if you get a signal that you stay in that location. Do not rely on your mobile phone to help you on mountains.