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What Is The European Emergency Number?

European Emergency Number 112

Dear Essential Travel,
I'm not so much writing to ask a question as to inform your readers. Many people do not know what the emergency number in Europe is and I believe that it is important that we all know it before an emergency happens. Enjoy your magazine! Keep it up! Trevor Atkinson, Accrington

Thank you Trevor,
We definitely agree with you that information like this is critically important to everyone who travels and even for those who don't. Research by the European Union shows that only 26% of Europeans know the emergency number and even worse, only 13% of UK residents are familiar with the number; this may be because our national emergency number, 999, has better traction within Britain than the Europe-wide number 112.

Features of 112

To expedite access to the emergency network, the emergency number has a few useful features:

  • Dialling 112 is free on fixed and mobile phones.
  • When you dial 112 in the UK it automatically redirects you to the national 999 call centres; likewise for other European countries to their national emergency service.
  • In many cases you will have access to operators who speak a foreign language or who speak English when calling in a foreign country.
  • Disabled users can use text relay for emergencies (requires registration).
  • Calls to 112 can be traced so that your location is verified.
  • On some phones you can dial the emergency number even if your phone is locked.
  • Travellers on roaming mobile plans will receive an text notifying them of the emergency number.

What you should do when making a 112 call

A specially trained operator takes you through the process of getting an emergency response. You must give the operator your name, current address, telephone number and the type of emergency you're dealing with; most importantly, do not hang-up until the situation has been dealt with. The operators will either handle the emergency directly or connect you with the relevant service - whether it be the local fire department, the police or the ambulance service.

Thank you bringing this to our attention Trevor! Please remember to dial 112 in an emergency.

Last Updated: March 2012

Gugulethu Hlekwayo

Gugulethu Hlekwayo

A timid traveller, but a traveller none the less; Gugulethu is in his element lost and without a map - preferably with a companion willing to listen to his tall tales. He's our resident expert on the best muffins in town.