If you or someone with you is having a medical emergency, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.
- Triple zero (000) is the national emergency service phone number.
- Use the triple zero (000) number to quickly contact the police, fire or ambulance services.
- When you call triple zero, stay calm and speak clearly.
- If the situation is not serious and urgent, call a local service for help instead of using triple zero.
When should I call triple zero (000)?
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.
You should call triple zero (000) if:
- a person is seriously injured or needs urgent medical help
- your life or property is in danger
- you have just witnessed a serious accident or crime
Remember that the triple zero (000) number is for emergencies only. If you call triple zero (000) and it is not an emergency, you might be stopping an ambulance from helping someone else.
If the situation is not urgent, call your local police, fire or medical service instead.
When do I need an ambulance?
You should call triple zero (000) if you or another person is injured or needs urgent medical help.
Ask for an ambulance if someone has a medical problem, such as:
- chest pain or chest tightness
- a sudden onset of weakness of the face, arm or leg or trouble speaking — these could be signs of a stroke
- breathing problems
- a sudden collapse, or unexplained fall
- a seizure
- uncontrollable bleeding
Also call for an ambulance if someone has:
- severe burns
- fallen from a great height
- an injury from a major car accident
- been physically assaulted, including stabbing or shooting
What happens when I call triple zero (000)?
The operator will ask if you want police, fire or ambulance.
If you need an ambulance, you may be asked:
- 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.
The operator will also ask for your 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.
Stay on the line and don't hang up until the operator tells you to.
How do I call or contact triple zero (000)?
It's important to call triple zero from a safe place. You can call triple zero (000) free of charge from:
- any fixed or mobile phone in Australia
- many VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or internet services
- Australian satellite phone services
You can also call 112 (the international emergency number) from a mobile phone. This is an alternative number to contact emergency services.
If you are in a place with no mobile coverage from any provider, none of the numbers will work.
Calling 911 will NOT direct you to the emergency services in Australia.
If you have a speech or hearing impairment, you can use the 106 text-based national relay service. 106 can only be used with a teletypewriter (TTY) or a device for the deaf.
You can't contact the emergency services by sending a text message.
You can call triple zero (000) with the healthdirect app or the Emergency+ app on your smartphone. The app will display latitude and longitude coordinates. Give the coordinates to emergency service operators if you don't know exactly where you are.
The Emergency+ app also includes ‘what3words' and ‘drop a pin' functions. These can help you explain where you are during an emergency. There are CPR videos in the Emergency+ app.
Other languages service
If you don'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.
What to do while waiting for an ambulance
If you have called an ambulance for someone who is unconscious (passed out), bleeding or in distress, stay with them while waiting for the ambulance.
While waiting for the ambulance, it can sometimes help to have another person:
- make sure the house/unit number is clearly visible from the street
- wait outside to direct the ambulance if your location is hard to find
- ensure there is a clear pathway to your location
- lock away pets
Tips for when the ambulance arrives
When the ambulance arrives, tell the paramedics if you or the person you are with has any allergies or special needs.
If the ambulance is taking you to hospital, it can be helpful to:
- bring your regular medicines with you, or a list of your medicines
- leave valuable items at home
- make sure your doors are locked and bring your keys
In some cases, it may help to have someone at home pack a small bag with essentials for the hospital.
How can I help others to use the triple zero (000) service?
Keep the triple zero (000) number beside the telephone or on the fridge at home and work.
Teach your children how to call triple zero (000).
Tell people who come to Australia from overseas that the emergency number in Australia is triple zero (000).
Information posters about calling triple zero in many other languages are available.
Where else can I get medical help?
If you or someone you know is sick but it's not an emergency, you can get help from:
- your doctor
- a nurse at healthdirect
- a pharmacist
- a home doctor service
- a hospital transport service
- your local hospital or emergency department — healthdirect's Service Finder can help you find services nearby
If you are not sure if a person has a serious or urgent health condition, you can call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for advice (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria).
The Australian health system has many different medical services available to help you. Watch this video to learn the right type of service for your health needs.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2023