What is 112?

112 is the uniform European emergency phone number available free of charge from fixed and mobile phones everywhere in the EU and almost all over Europe.

Imagine you are at home or visiting an EU country and you need to contact the ambulance, the fire brigade or the police. As Europeans are increasingly travelling for business or leisure, they could face an emergency situation at any time. There is no need to look up and remember the emergency numbers for each EU country you are visiting. Just remember 112!

When should you call 112?

112 will not replace existing national emergency numbers, but in most countries, it will operate alongside them. However, some member countries such as Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Malta and Romania have opted for 112 as the main national emergency number.

112 is also used in some countries outside the EU (such as Switzerland, Croatia, Serbia and South Africa) and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.

Call 112 in any emergency situation requiring an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police, for example when you witness a serious road accident, notice a building on fire, or spot a house being broken into.

Do not call 112 to obtain traffic reports, weather reports or general information.

Unnecessary calls may overload the system putting at risk the lives of those who really need emergency assistance.

Hoax calls may also affect the response to real emergency situations. Because of the high number of hoax calls, a number of countries decided to block 112 calls from mobile phones without a SIM card.

What happens when you call 112?

A specially trained operator will answer your call. Depending on the national organization of emergency services, the operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer you to the most appropriate emergency service (such as ambulance, fire brigade, disaster management or police).

Operators are increasingly able to answer 112 calls in more than one language, which is especially important for people calling 112 while abroad.

Give your name, address, telephone number. It is necessary for identifying callers, in particular in order not to alarm the emergency services for the same incident several times.

Do not hang up if you call 112 by mistake! Tell the operator that everything is fine. Otherwise, emergency services action may be initiated unnecessarily. 

Raising awareness

In order to increase public awareness of 112 services, the European Commission, Parliament and Council established 11th of February as the European 112 Day in February 2009. On this day, different awareness and networking activities are organized throughout the EU in order to promote the existence and use of Europe’s uniform emergency number.

Moreover, the new Roaming Regulation, which entered into force in July 2009, provides that citizens using their mobile phone when travelling to another EU Member State will receive an SMS with information about the European emergency number 112.

The European 112 Day

The European 112 Day is organized on the 11th of February each year in order to raise public awareness of the emergency number 112, as well as of the importance of mutual care and assistance.

The 112 Day was established by the European Union in 2009. This day is an excellent opportunity to inform the public that the emergency number 112 can save lives. Every year more and more member states follow the EU initiative by celebrating their national 112 Days.

Further information»