Carers Emergency Card

Please note: to benefit from the full range of services associated with the card, the person you care for must be aged over 18. Volunteer support is not available to sit with under 18's.

What is a 'carer's emergency'

If something happens to you and it would not be safe to leave the person you care for without help.  This could be anything from an urgent appointment that you need to keep, through being held up at school or being late back from a school trip, to you being taken ill and admitted to hospital.  You be poorly or exhausted and unable to cope but have no one help you to take care of the person you look after, or there may be another family priority you need to attend to, and you have no-one to sit with the person you care for. Planning for the kinds of emergencies that can happen to anyone can reduce your anxiety and stress.

Peace of mind

Though unlikely, many young carers worry most about having an accident while away from the person they help care for. If you register for a carers' card, and carry it with you, you will know that help is only a phone call away in a crisis.  In the unlikely event of an accident, it will alert people to the fact that you are a Young Carer, so that the person you care for will be looked after. 

What will happen in the event of an accident?

The card contains the emergency 24/7 number for the British Red Cross and your unique reference number. It is this phone number that is called in an emergency and the reference number that, when quoted, will automatically display your plan and help our duty officer decide what action to take. 

We will phone your contact numbers (of friends, relatives or care staff we can contact in an emergency). If none of them answer, or if they are unable to respond immediately, we will send local Red Cross volunteers to stay with the person you care for until other arrangements are made. We aim to have volunteers on their way within an hour.


Calling for help at other times

You can also ring the Red Cross yourself if you need short notice help but are not ill. Simply use your card to call the emergency Red Cross pager, they will try very hard to provide a Red Cross volunteer to stay with the person you care for. Try to give as much notice as possible (at least 2 hours).   So if you're going on a school trip that won't be back until later than usual and the person you care for may need to be reminded to take their medication or maybe a little help to prepare some food, or you have an exam or appointment you need to get to, the card can be used then. 

What can Red Cross volunteers do?

All our volunteers have DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service checks), and basic training in First Aid, manual handling and providing emotional support.  They can:

  • Ensure people are warm and comfortable
  • Assist them to prepare light meals and drinks
  • Prompt them to take medication
  • Help the person to avoid discomfort or distress

I want to alert others but don't want the volunteer service

You can still use the card, so that people you choose may be alerted in an emergency, without agreeing to the volunteer back-up service. For example, you may care for someone with a mental health problem who would be distressed if strangers turned up, or you may care for a disabled child. Simply indicate your preference on the registration form.

How do I register for the scheme?

Fill in the registration form (call 01670 320025 for a copy). This should include contact numbers for three family members or friends who could stay with the person in the unlikely event of something happening to you, until the urgency is over or alternative care is arranged. You will need to make sure they know what needs to happen if you are unavailable.

If you need help with the form or would prefer to do this over the phone, please call Carers Northumberland and someone will take your details and register for you. Call 01670 320025 or email