PRIMARY school children are being educated about when they should call 999 thanks to a novel project by the ambulance service.

Fairy tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel have been given a modern twist in a new book, written by Matthew Owen and illustrated by Emmeline Pidgen, which will be available to primary school children across the region.

Paramedics are visiting primary schools across East Lancashire to talk about the initiative, while lesson plans are available for teachers who want to introduce their pupils to the scheme.

The concept comes after the North West Ambulance Service revealed it received more than one million 999 calls last year, with over a third of those being non-emergency situations.

This included calls about slips and falls, stomach pains and backache, as well as stubbed toes and hiccups.

Via the book, Happily Ever After, the service is trying to educate children on which scenarios are considered to be an emergency in a bid to reduce the number of non-emergency callers and help people understand where else they can get help.

The book sees classic characters such as Snow White in scenarios that require emergency attention, whereas Sleeping Beauty deals with the prince having a seizure by dialling 111.

Ged Blezard, director of operations at the ambulance service, said: “Calls to the ambulance service increase year on year, however of the 1.3 million calls made last year, only 10 per cent were actually for immediately life-threatening incidents.

“There is clearly a need to educate the public on what constitutes an emergency situation, and what better way to connect with children than to turn the old fairy tales we all know and love into stories we can all learn from?

“The book is filled with beautiful pictures and engaging stories which will hopefully stay with children throughout their lives and help them make the right decisions in future.

“By educating children early on, we hope to provide them with the knowledge they need to act responsibly and with due care should they ever find themselves in an emergency.”

Typical examples of a life-threatening emergencies include a cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, a confused state, fits that aren’t stopping, chest pain and breathing difficulties.

For medical help when it is not an emergency, go to or call NHS 111.