What to say when calling emergency services

What to say when calling emergency services

It is easier said than done, but in a situation where you need to call emergency services, don’t panic. Yes, it can be nerve-wracking to call 10111 and have the fate of the whole situation resting on your shoulders, but you’ve got to do this! The operator is trained to assist you regardless of what is happening. Your job is to divulge as much information as possible.

There are a few simple steps to follow that will have the proper help by your side ASAP.


The first thing to do is make sure that you are safe, then dial the number of your area’s emergency services. In South Africa, the emergency number for the South African Police Service is 10111. In the event of a medical emergency, the number for an ambulance response vehicle is 10177 and both numbers are toll free. If you are an iER member, all you need to do is access the app and press the emergency button. Your location will be sent to the call centre and help will be on the way.

Remain calm

It may seem that the call is taking forever to connect, or that the emergency services operator isn’t acting quickly enough, but remember that this trained professional knows exactly what information to get from you to do the best he/she can to get you to safety.

Listen to the operator and follow his/her instructions. You may be asked to answer a number of questions, so do your best to answer them as coherently and clearly as you can.

It is important to say exactly where you are and what has happened. If someone with you has been injured, explain as much as you can about what happened. Communicate any imminent danger and any other and landmarks of the place you are if you do not know the exact address.


The iER App puts these services and many others in one place in an application on your phone. Much like the automated system when calling toll-free numbers, the app takes it one step further. All you need to do is log in and press a button. An operator will contact you and help will be sent to you.

When you have successfully downloaded and registered on the iER App, our national network of emergency and security personnel can be dispatched to your emergency, 24 hours a day, every day.

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