Panic often sets in when a family member suddenly falls ill late at night or on a public holiday, but dialing 119 can set nerves at rest as this provides immediate information on how to deliver first aid as well as a list of nearby hospitals that offer emergency treatment.
"Few people are aware that 119 also gives advice on first aid and guides them to hospitals that are open for emergency treatment. It also provides information on hospitals and pharmacies that are open on Sundays," said Chung Eun-kyung, a director at the Ministry of Health and Welfare's emergency healthcare division.
The emergency medical information center can also be accessed directly by dialing 1330. It will operate separately until June, after which it will be fully integrated into the 119 service.
Meanwhile, smartphone users can download a free app created by the ministry that offers emergency medical information. It also guides users to emergency centers, hospitals and pharmacies in their immediate neighborhood.