English Vocabulary for Emergencies

Blog Image

Do you know what to say in English in case of an emergency? In the moment, you might panic and not be able to think of the English words that you need – so it’s good to learn and practice them beforehand.

From health scares to fires and crime, there are many occasions where emergency vocabulary could be useful. Read on to discover some basic words and phrases that could help you to deal with an emergency in an English-speaking country.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation where either a crime is in progress or a situation could be life-threatening, call 999 in Britain to contact the police, ambulance or fire brigade. The emergency number is 911 in America and 112 in Continental Europe.

The operator will need to know which emergency service you require, what is wrong and where you are. 

Try to keep calm and speak clearly. If you have a health concern that is not an emergency, dial 111 in the UK to reach the NHS non-emergency helpline and the medical staff will advise you. 

Remember, if you are out in a new place, always try to be aware of where you are. Pay attention to the road names, signs, buildings and any distinguishing landmarks nearby. This knowledge will help in case you need to describe your location to the emergency services.

The emergency call operator will ask you the number you are calling from, so they can call you back if necessary. The number of a public phone will usually be written on the device.

Emergency numbers are free to call from landlines and mobile phones – they usually work even from mobiles without signal. You can also contact the emergency services by text / SMS if you can’t speak, are deaf or are hard of hearing.



Can someone call 999?

Has someone already called the police?

I need an ambulance

I need the fire brigade

I need the police

Please hurry


There’s a fire

The building’s on fire

Can you smell smoke?

I can smell burning

Call the fire brigade!

Where is the fire escape?


There’s been a theft

There’s been a robbery

There’s been a burglary

My car/house has been broken into

Something has been stolen

Stop, thief!

Describing what has happened to you

I’ve been robbed

I’ve been mugged

I’ve been attacked

I’ve been raped

I’ve been molested

I’ve been stabbed

I’ve been shot

I’m bleeding

I think I’ve broken a bone

I’ve been followed

I’m being followed by someone

I’ve been threatened / someone has threatened me

I’ve been hurt

Medical Emergencies

Call for an ambulance

I need a doctor

There’s been an accident

She’s not breathing

Put her in the recovery position

  • The ‘recovery position’ is a position in which an unconscious person who is still breathing should be placed to keep the airways open

Please can someone help me?

This is a medical emergency

Is there a doctor here?

Can someone call for an ambulance?

Does anyone know how to do CPR?

Stand clear / give me some space, I’m going to perform CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

  • CPR stands for ‘cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ and is a life saving technique used when someone has stopped breathing.
  • To give someone ‘the kiss of life’ means to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This means breathing gently into the mouth of an unconscious person to inflate and deflate their lungs to hopefully help them start breathing again. These breaths are called ‘rescue breaths’ and can be used as part of CPR.
  • It is advisable to take a recognised first aid course to be prepared for such emergencies.


More emergencies phrases

I’ve burnt myself

I’ve cut myself

I can’t breathe

I’m having trouble breathing

I am choking

He’s not breathing / he’s stopped breathing

I am in pain

I think I’m having a heart attack

She’s unconscious

She won’t wake up / I can’t wake her

My stomach hurts

My chest hurts

My head hurts

My leg hurts

My heading is throbbing

I have a nose bleed

I think I’ve broken my arm / leg

I can’t see

My eyes are stinging

My eyes are sore

I need to see a dentist

My tooth has come out

My tooth has been knocked out

My tooth has fallen out

I’ve dislocated my shoulder

I’ve put my back out

I’ve gone into labour

I’m in labour


Less important emergency situations:

I’m lost

I don’t know where I am

I’ve forgotten where I’m staying

I’ve forgotten the name of my hotel

I’ve lost my wallet/purse/keys

I’ve locked myself out (of my house/car)

I can’t find my keys

I can’t get into my room

I hope you feel better equipped to use your English in case of emergency!


Learning English will improve your chances of Getting a better Job, Earn More Money, Travel Abroad, Study Internationally & Make new international Friends
Start Learning your first English lesson within 5 Minutes!

Registered Students
Language Certificates
Satisfaction Rate

Great site to keep my english skills updated for work and travel. I am really enjoying the lessons!

Maria C
ar   Argentina

Loved the course. Abitlity to improve my grammar and spelling in a step by step method has really helped me. Thanks!

Andre T
fr   France