112 is the European emergency phone number, available everywhere in the EU, free of charge.
It is possible to call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.
When a person dials 112, a specially trained operator will answer the call. Depending on the national organisation of emergency services, the operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer the call to the most appropriate emergency service.
Operators in many countries can answer the calls not only in their national language, but also in English or French. If the caller does not know where he is, the operator will identify where the person making the call is physically located and will pass it to the emergency authorities so that these can help immediately.
112 operators do not provide traffic and weather reports, general information or answers to queries.
Calling 112 as a joke or calling and then hanging up is considered a hoax call. Hoax calls not only waste the time and money of the emergency operators, but can also be dangerous. If 112 lines or call operators are busy with hoax calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help needed. In most countries, it is a criminal offence to make hoax 112 calls and a person can be judged for that.
112 doesn't replace the existing national emergency numbers. In most countries, it operates alongside them. However, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Malta and Romania have opted for 112 as their main national emergency number.
112 is also used in some countries outside the EU - such as Switzerland and South Africa - and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.
More information on 112 in every EU country.
Every child and young person must know what to do in case of an accident or fire. If parents and educators teach young people which number to call and what to do when they are in difficulty, they will know how to act in case of a real accident. In this section there is some child-friendly material on 112.
See also 112 on Your Europe.