When you travel to a different country, do you always know the number to dial in an emergency? As an experienced traveller, I am ashamed to say that my answer has been ‘no’ until now. To show even more ignorance, I had no idea that for years there has been a single emergency telephone number for the European Union. According to the latest data from the European Commission, only 13% of people in the UK are aware of the single EU emergency number. So, if you had no idea either, you’re not the only one, please keep reading. If you do know about it, you’re way ahead of me and so many others!
What is the EU emergency number?
Is it free?
Yes, it is free of charge and available anywhere in the EU.
Can you dial from a mobile?
Yes, you can dial the number from any type of phone: a landline, mobile, payphone and VoIP.
What emergency services does it cover?
Ambulance, fire brigade and police.
What if I don’t speak the language?
Don’t worry! Apparently, operators in many of the countries also speak English and French.
What if I don’t know my location?
Don’t worry! Apparently, the operator will be able to locate you and pass that information on to the emergency services.
What about the national emergency numbers?
The national emergency numbers still exist in most countries so you can dial those numbers, if you know them, in an emergency. Apparently the following countries have opted for 112 as their main national emergency number: Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Malta and Romania. Outside the EU, several countries neighbouring the member states, as well as Russia and South Africa use the same number, which makes life easier for travellers.
Hopefully, you will never need the assistance of the emergency services while you are travelling but it’s useful to know, just in case. So, from now on, I will always make sure I know the emergency number of the country I am in. I hope you will too. Click the link for further information on the EU emergency number.
Have your say
Did you know that 112 was so widely used as an emergency number?