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.
Now that Bulgaria has set up a 112 hotline, the single EU emergency number works in all member countries without exception.
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. But it doesn't replace existing national emergency numbers – it works alongside them.
The number has been around for almost 20 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 112 . Instructions for children are also now available on the EU website.
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.