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EMERGENCY HQ Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Become the Best Incident Commander

EMERGENCY HQ is a simulation game developed by Sixteen Tons Entertainment and part of the long-running EMERGENCY series of video games. In EMERGENCY HQ, you are in charge of a task force that engages in various emergencies around the city. Ranging from accidents, to natural disasters, to even more sinister actions afoot, you will be commanding your teams to secure the area and get the job done.

emergency hq guide

Early on, you simply have to deal with wayward fires and car accidents. But as you build up your Headquarters, you will be assigned more complex crises. In addition, any emergency you face is not static, with things changing and more hazards occurring. You will have to be sharp and react to any sudden changes to the crisis at hand. If there are no active emergencies available, you can also send your task forces to assist nearby districts.

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You can collaborate with other players and form alliances, competing with other groups to see who can handle emergencies the quickest. Alternatively, you can go for a one-on-one match against another player to test your forces’ mettle. Before we dive deeper into EMERGENCY HQ, we will start with the basics and what you can anticipate. So, stay with use and learn what EMERGENCY HQ has in store.

Danger Waits for No One

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Your first set of missions will serve as the tutorial, showing you how to call in the necessary emergency services to deal with the crisis at hand. After some basic camera controls, the game shows you the number of tasks you have to deal with to complete the current crisis.

Do note however that things can change during an emergency, just like in real life, so more tasks may have to be completed before the emergency is taken care of. This is particularly evident with fires, which will spread to nearby flammable objects until they are extinguished.

The first assignment concerns a fire near a wind power plant. There is a nearby Engineer knocked unconscious and in need of medical treatment. The game will automatically call in three services to put out the fire and help the Engineer:

emergency hq tutorial b
  • Firefighters: Two Firefighters come in via their fire truck and extinguish fires with either a fire extinguisher or a fire hose. The former is portable but only useful for putting out small fires like those on trees or campfires. The latter requires a nearby fire hydrant to work but can put out fires of any size.

    In some cases, Firefighters can be ordered to cool off nearby buildings or objects to prevent fires from spreading, containing the main blaze while other Firefighters deal with it. Firefighters are also used to cut apart wrecked cars to free trapped passengers, but this will not be necessary during your first assignment.
  • Emergency Doctor: The Emergency Doc is a must when injured civilians are present, as she tends to their wounds and stabilizes them for further transport to the hospital. You have to work fast before any casualties die from their wounds. However, she is not invulnerable and can get injured herself by other sources such as fires. In that case, a meter builds up, giving you time to order her back to her vehicle before she gets hurt.
  • Paramedic: Some countries split tending to the injured and transporting them to the hospital as separate duties; your Paramedics take care of the second duty. Paramedics put any stabilized casualties onto their stretcher and bring them to their ambulance, and you will have to order the ambulance to ferry any passengers to the hospital. The ambulance can only hold one patient at a time, so be patient (no pun intended) while the ambulance returns to carry another casualty to safety.

Combining the above, your general order of business for your first mission is as follows:

  • Put out the fire with your Firefighters,
  • Once the fire has been extinguished, send your Emergency Doctor to tend to the injured, and
  • After the Doctor completes her tasks, order your Paramedics to bring the patient to the hospital.

This is how most of the early emergencies will play out though depending on the casualties’ locations, the Emergency Doctor might be able to treat those who are farther away from danger first, before other emergency services get any hazardous situations under control. Outside of the first mission, you have to manually call in the relevant services at the lower left corner of the screen, either one-by-one or through a quick button that calls all required services immediately.

As you progress through the tutorial, you unlock new services to tackle more complex emergencies, as well as the means to improve your income.

Task Force Central

emergency hq starting base

When not sent out to deal with emergencies, your task forces rest at your base, which you can upgrade and customize in order to accommodate more disasters. For now, it just comprises of your Headquarters and a nearby road, and the game instructs you to build up Depots in order to house your task forces. It is important that a Depot connects to a nearby road, and while all Depots cost resources to build, roads are free of charge.

This means that you are free to modify the layout of your base as needed. While the actual area of your base is quite large, most of it will be covered in trees and rocks. These will need to be cleared out in order to expand. This costs coins earned through completing emergencies, and the farther you are from the starting area, the more expensive landscaping will get.

For now, the game instructs you to build the Depots for both the Firefighters and the medical team. We will also discuss some of the other Depots you will unlock and build below as time goes on:

emergency hq depot selection
  • Tow Truck: The first Depot related to engineering, if crashed cars are involved, the Tow Truck is called in to move out any wrecked cars. Selected cars must be free of fires, injured passengers, or any dangers to the truck itself.
  • Police Car: Your first Police-related Depot, the Police Car is called in if there is any criminal activity afoot. Policemen will also disperse any onlookers that may block the path of other task forces, so that they can reach their destinations.
  • K-9 Rescue Dog: If someone has been lost and your intel has no idea where they could be, you call on a canine companion to sniff them out. You order the Rescue Dog to go to a potential location, and the dog tries to locate any people there. The chance of actually finding a person is based on the Rescue Dog’s level. Whether they find someone or not, the dog must be ordered back to its handler to be fed a treat, rewarding the pooch for doing as instructed before going on another search.
  • Water Tender: The Water Tender is essentially a firefighter with a built-in water source, allowing it to put out any fire without the need for fire hydrants. However, it can only put out fires or cool things down, making it largely unnecessary after all fires have been put out. Additionally, it can only deal with one thing at a time.
emergency hq base building

Depots not only serve as housing for your task forces, but they also passively generate income while you are away. Depots can only store coins up to a certain point and must collected manually. Upgrading Depots increases the number of coins they can store and also gives you an additional vehicle to send out during an emergency (which the game refers to as a “Real-Time Mission”).

Aside from reinforcing your firefighting line, you can send any idle vehicles to Support Missions, which are basically side quests your task forces can complete without any further input from you. Support Missions can require any number of services and can take anywhere from five minutes to six hours, rewarding you some extra coins depending on the time spent.

However, note that Support Missions do prevent you from calling on particular services during a Real-Time Mission. Early on, this can impair your income as you wait for your people to return. Depots naturally take time to build and upgrade, and you can either wait for these to complete (which, in the case of an upgrade, thankfully does not disable the Depot for the duration), or spend EMeralds, the premium currency of Emergency HQ, to instantly complete the process.

The available buildings you can construct, as well as the maximum number of times you can upgrade them, are tied to your account level, which is increased via experience obtained from completing Emergencies of either type.

emergency hq support missions

One particular building of note is the Training Center, unlocked by upgrading your Headquarters to Level 2. The Training Center allows you to improve a given task force’s performance both on the field and during Support Missions. All Real-Time Missions have a level that determines the difficulty of the Emergency in question, which is compared to the level of a given task force.

The greater the difference is, the more time it will take for a task force to complete their current task before being allowed to move on to the next one. The values are confusingly in the hundreds, but in practice the actual difficulty values are much smaller than they appear. Similar to buildings, the maximum level a given task force can be trained is limited to the Training Center’s own level.

However, only one task force can be trained at a time. Thankfully, this does not prevent them from responding to emergencies. Additionally, training affects all vehicles of a Depot so you do not have to waste resources training them one at a time. Most task forces use coins to upgrade, but the K-9 task force uses Thank Yous, which have a chance of being rewarded by completing tasks in a Real-Time Mission.

emergency hq training

Finally, the base has decorations you can place around to further customize your base, such as flower beds or flags. While most of these are cosmetic, two particular decorations have special effects, both costing EMeralds to purchase:

emergency hq decorations
  • The first set are Monuments, statues that improve the earnings of your services and can be upgraded by performing related tasks. There are four Monuments in total, each corresponding to Firefighting, Medical, Engineering (such as Tow Trucks), and Police.
  • The second set are Radio Antennas that double the rate nearby Depots generate coins. There are four Antennas in total, but each of them has their own unique area of effect. The placement matters in order to maximize your earnings. Depots can only get the benefits of one Antenna, so overlapping them will have no effect beyond wasting potential profit.

This covers the basics of dealing with emergencies and managing your base, and our next section will cover additional features before we go on with tips and tricks.

Air Support and Alliances

emergency hq mission briefing

Real-Time Missions have a ranking system that is based on how quickly you can resolve an emergency. These are split into bronze, silver, and gold categories, with some missions even having a platinum category. Aside from showing off your skill at handling disasters, this generally has no effect on your earnings. Completing all tasks in a Real-Time Mission earns you coins and experience as expected, but also earns you league points which are recorded every few days.

Once the current league season has concluded, the top five players move on to the next league rank. Getting promoted to a new rank, or at least maintaining your current standing, earns you coins and experience every time a season ends. Failing to reach the minimum league points to maintain your current standing will result in league demotion, reducing your reward.

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There is a limited number of Real-Time Missions to complete at any given time, with new ones being generated every 30 minutes. As an incentive for completing old missions, finishing a Real-Time Mission three times will triple the reward, resetting on the third completion. Normally, you will have to wait for that mission to generate, but you can use a Redo to replay a mission one more time, keeping whatever coins or Thank Yous you have earned on the previous run.

All new accounts start with 10 free Redos, with additional ones obtained mainly with EMeralds. If one of the available Real-Time Missions is too difficult for you to complete, you can spend some EMeralds to declare the mission a false alarm, removing it from the current selection so that a new one can take its place. As you upgrade your Headquarters, more and more of the city opens up which results in more difficult emergencies to tackle.

If the current disaster is proving too much for you to handle but you do not want to lose out on your current earnings by quitting the mission, you can call in a Verticopter to help you out. Verticopters are consumable powerups that call in a dedicated helicopter to perform a selected task very quickly. If you are delaying a certain crisis for whatever reason, the game may even recommend using a Verticopter to finish it. There are three types of Verticopters to use:

emergency hq verticopters
  • Fire Verticopters which dump water onto the targeted fire, quickly extinguishing it and quenching nearby blazes as well.
  • Rescue Verticopters which transport selected casualties directly to the hospital after pickup.
  • Police Verticopters which scare off any would-be criminals and immediately disperse crowds.

You get five of each Verticopter for free, but additional uses need to be purchased with EMeralds.

Emergency HQ also features a head-to-head mode, where you face off against another player as you both tackle the same type of emergency. In this mode, you are given a limited number of slots for your task forces, so you have to decide which task forces are necessary for the given emergency at hand. Once the match begins, you are both instructed to deal with the emergency as it unfolds.

You earn points by dealing with individual crises, with the values based on how quickly you resolve them. Once both players have completed their emergencies, whoever has the most points wins, earning league points separate from finishing standard missions. As with the “standard” league, head-to-head mode has its own league, seasons, and ranks, which serve as an additional source of income.

emergency hq versus

If you are curious as to what the bases of other players are like, you can preview them by selecting either the chat icon or the leaderboard icon, both of which are above the Real-Time Missions button. From there, you can select the player you want to visit and choose “View.” It will take some time to load up the selected player’s base, but once it is done you can look around the base to get some inspiration.

Since there are going to be players who have advanced through the game much further than you, you can also use the preview to see what other Depots the game has in store. In addition, the first player base you visit has a special Supply Crate hidden somewhere on the map. Locating and opening it will grant a small gift ranging from a free Redo to some extra EMeralds. Some bases may have very different climates or building styles, which is the result of purely cosmetic purchases and have no impact on gameplay.

emergency hq player visit

Lastly, the game has an alliance system where multiple players join up and compete against other alliances for season rewards. You can only join alliances after upgrading your Headquarters enough times, and you can either join a preexisting alliance or make your own. Alliances can only have up to 12 members at a time, and they can loan spare task force vehicles to other members to give them some help in Real-Time Missions.

Swiftly Saving Lives

With all of Emergency HQ’s features covered, we can start sharing tips for new rescue commanders:

As a rule of thumb, always anticipate new dangers to show up during an emergency. Fires can spread, car accidents can pile up, and more people can get injured even if you have the original emergency under control. Stay on your toes so that you can easily adapt to the changing circumstances.

If an emergency involves downed civilians, send your Emergency Doctors to treat the ones safe from danger first. That way they can be sent to the hospital while your other task forces deal with whatever hazards are keeping your Emergency Doctors from reaching other casualties. One thing you should note is that your task forces and their vehicles can pass through themselves or nearby bystanders without incident.

This can help save time if you are trying to get the elusive gold or platinum medals, or just want to finish the current emergency quickly before things spiral out of control. For example, in a car accident, you can send your Tow Truck to pick up a crashed car even if the Emergency Doctor is currently stabilizing its injured driver.

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If fires are present, remember that cooling off nearby flammables is just as important as extinguishing the main blaze. If you have an idle Firefighter or Water Tender, order them to cool off anything that is next to still-burning objects while the main fire is being dealt with. If you are down to just one fire, nothing is stopping you from ordering all firefighting forces to put it out. Just remember that even extinguished objects can re-ignite.

One thing you might notice when visiting other players’ bases is that there are Depots that have boats docked nearby. Later parts of the city will have you dealing with water-based emergencies, and with it the need for rescue boats. While this will not come in until much later, consider arranging your base so that the coast is easily accessible for future expansions. It may require removing the trees further down the lot, but it will save time in rearranging the base.

Emergency HQ features three ways you can get EMeralds without spending real money:

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  • The first way is an achievement system, rewarding you EMeralds for reaching certain milestones such as treating enough civilians or upgrading your buildings enough times. This gives you a steady source EMeralds for quick Verticopter purchases, or simply saving up to buy Monuments and Antennas.
  • The second way is a simulation center located across your base, where you can watch an ad in exchange for a small number of EMeralds. The EMeralds earned there can range from 2-10 per video which, while not much, can help get you EMeralds when achievements are proving too difficult to reach.
  • The third way is through a daily login system, rewarding you EMeralds every time you log in and giving you up to 10 EMeralds after a week. You can get bonus EMeralds for next day’s login bonus by responding to emergencies, so the game encourages some activity even if it is just doing Support Missions.
emergency hq mission complete

And that concludes our guide to Emergency HQ. We hope you enjoy this game as much as we did, helping others in need. If you have any tips you would like to share with us, let us know in the comment section. Good luck, and game on!