One telephone number for emergency services throughout Europe.
Would you know what number to call if you had an accident at work or at school? What if you were on holiday abroad? Wherever you are in the EU, there's just one number you need to remember for emergency services –112.
In an emergency, every second counts. You don't want to have to scrabble round to find a phone number when someone's life is at stake. That's why the EU has introduced a single number for all member countries. The same number can be used if your house is on fire in Sweden or if you have a road accident in Italy.
When you call 112, a local operator will either deal with your call directly or redirect you to the emergency service you need - ambulance, police or fire brigade.
The single EU emergency number is a practical way of ensuring Europeans can move around freely and safely. So far, the number 112 works in all EU countries, except Bulgaria. It doesn't replace existing national emergency numbers – it works alongside them.
The number has been around for almost twenty years, and yet only 22% of Europeans know about it. To rectify this, the EU is calling on countries to publicise the number and explain how to use it . If your car breaks down on a motorway, for example – it's not the right number to call! Countries are also being asked to ensure that callers can be traced. This is a legal requirement but it's of practical value too as the caller may not be able to give their exact location.
You can dial 112 free of charge from a landline, mobile phone or a payphone. The calls usually work even if you're out of credit or outside the range of your mobile network.