Triple zero (000) is the number to call for ambulance, police or fire services in an emergency. Only call triple zero (000) if the situation is serious and urgent.
When to call triple zero (000)
You should call triple zero (000) if:
- someone is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help
- your life or property is being threatened or in danger
- you have just witnessed a serious accident or crime.
If the situation is not urgent, call your local police, fire or ambulance service instead.
Do you need an ambulance?
While every triple zero (000) call is given assistance, it is important to remember that this number is for emergencies only.
Most triple zero (000) calls for ambulances do not need a stretcher ambulance or paramedic. This means ambulances and paramedics can get tied up with non-emergency situations - and this could cost someone their life.
You should call triple zero (000) and request an ambulance in the following situations:
- chest pain or chest tightness
- sudden onset of weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
- breathing difficulties
- uncontrollable bleeding
- a sudden collapse or unexplained fall
- unexplained fitting in adults
- injury from a major car accident
- a fall from a great height
- serious assault, including stabbing or shooting
- severe burns, particularly in young children
- infants who are fitting or have an ongoing fever.
Are you facing one of these medical emergencies now? Then stop reading and call triple zero (000) immediately.
If you are unsure whether someone needs an ambulance or not, call triple zero (000).
What happens when you call triple zero (000)?
The operator will ask:
- Do you want Police, Fire or Ambulance?
- What is your exact address or location? (Try to provide the street number, street name, nearest cross street and the area. In rural areas give the full address, nearest landmarks and roads and the name of the property. If you are driving, tell them the direction you're going in and the last motorway exit or town you passed.)
- What is your phone number?
If you need an ambulance, you will be asked to provide details such as:
- What is the problem?
- How old is the patient?
- Are they breathing?
- Are they conscious?
Remember to keep calm and speak slowly and clearly. Stay focused and only give relevant details.
Stay on the line and don't hang up until the operator tells you to.
How to call triple zero (000)
You can call triple zero (000) from any fixed or mobile phone and many VoIP and satellite services in Australia. You can also call 112 (the international emergency number) from any mobile phone in Australia
You can call triple zero (000) via the healthdirect app with a smartphone. The app will display latitude and longitude coordinates which you can relay to emergency service operators when you don’t know exactly where you are.
If you have a speech or hearing impairment, you can use the 106 text-based service.
Other languages service
If you can't speak English you can call triple zero (000) and ask for Police, Fire, or Ambulance. Stay on the line and they will organise a translator.
If you are unable to speak, you will be directed to an interactive voice response (IVR) unit. You will be asked to press '55' if you need assistance and police will be despatched.
Tips for calling triple zero (000)
- stay focused
- stay relevant
- stay on the line
- stay calm
- call from a safe place
- make sure the house/unit number is clearly visible when the ambulance arrives
- if it's hard to find, have someone wait to direct the ambulance
- lock away pets
- pack a small bag with anything you may need for the hospital
- bring any regular medication with you
- tell the paramedic if you have any allergies or special requirements
- don't bring valuable items with you in the ambulance
- make sure the doors are locked and don't forget the keys.
Other things you can do
- keep the triple zero (000) number beside the telephone at home and work
- teach children how to call triple zero (000)
- show overseas visitors that the emergency number in Australia is triple zero (000).
Other places to get help
Rather than calling for an ambulance, you can get help from:
- a nurse at healthdirect
- a visit from the home doctor service
- your GP
- hospital transport
- your local emergency department. Healthdirect’s service finder can help you find emergency departments nearby.
If you're not sure, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for advice.
What care do I need?
The Australian health system has many different types of services available to help you. Watch this video to learn the most appropriate service to your health needs.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: November 2017