112 - The European emergency number

112 - The European emergency number

112 is a single emergency telephone number that allows European citizens and travelers within EU to contact emergency services for assistance in all Member States.

In order to ensure a quicker and more efficient intervention, 112 operates either alongside the national emergency numbers or as the main emergency number depending on the country.

Since each Member State is responsible for its own national civil protection system, the operator may transfer your call to the appropriate emergency service or deal with your request directly.

The European emergency number is:

  • Ideal for contacting any emergency service in any EU country.
  • Available from fixed line phones and mobile phones all over EU.
  • Easy to remember and quick to dial (no country, city or district code needed).
  • Seen as a key instrument for the free movement within the EU.

Countries where 112 operates

112 operates in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican and the United Kingdom. 112 is also available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.

112 instructions

  • Call 112 and wait until you are connected to an operator.
  • Introduce yourself and clearly state the incident.
  • Although emergency services should be able to identify where you are physically located, always indicate your location and if possible, briefly explain how to reach you.
  • Answer all the questions asked.
  • Follow the operator’s advice.
  • Do not hang up, until the call-taker or dispatcher asks you to.
  • Try to keep your phone line free after the conversation; you may receive calls for additional information. 
  • Call again only if there are more to report / situation changes.

Call 112 in case:

  • of fire / smoke / explosives
  • of a serious car / work accident
  • someone is attempting to steal / damage a vehicle or property
  • you or people nearby you are trapped / injured / unconscious / bleeding / suffocating
  • you witnessed an attempted suicide

Do not use 112:

  • just for fun / to check if it actually works
  • to report the same accident / emergency again
  • to call a taxi or get informed about transportation
  • for contact details (address, phone number etc.)
  • for doctors, dentists, pharmacies etc.
  • for minor accidents / incidents

Using the 112NL app

The Netherlands also has an alternative option for people who are unable to call the 112 emergency number. If you cannot communicate with an operator as a result of:

  • A speech or hearing impairment
  • A language barrier 
  • A life-threatening situation

You can get in touch with the emergency services via the 112NL app. The app is free to download on both the iOS and Android stores and operates in 109 different languages, including English.

Notes about 112

  • If the operator does not answer your call immediately do not hang up; every repeated call is considered a new one and thus, is put at the end of the queue.
  • Stay calm and make sure your answers are precise, brief and clear.
  • The average waiting time in the Netherlands is eight seconds.
  • 112 calls from mobile phones in the Netherlands are possible even if there is no SIM card.
  • Operators in the Netherlands can be expected to speak English, German and French.
  • Hoax 112 calls are considered to be a criminal offence in most EU countries.
  • February 11 is established as the European 112 Day.
  • All EU citizens and travellers should receive information about 112 by SMS when they travel to another EU country (Roaming Regulation, July 2009).
  • Only around 45 percent of the Dutch are aware of 112 as the EU-wide emergency number.

Remember: "When in doubt, dial it out - 112. You could save someone’s life!"

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