Yes some of us may be old enough to remember the Ghost Buster films from the 1980`s and that catchy theme tune “Who are you going to call?.........”. We may never have a need to acquire the services of Ghosts Busters and hopefully we never will. But imagine if there is a fire at home or at work, an urgent requirement for the guards or an ambulance? Do you know the emergency number to dial? An Ambulance, The Fire Service, An Garda Siochana or even the Coast Guard here in Ireland can be reached by dialling 999. Well done if you have answered correctly. And yes 112, I hear someone say is also correct. Now what number do you dial when you are aboard? As Europeans we are increasingly travelling for business or leisure, millions of people could be faced with this problem. Fortunately, there is no need to look up and remember the emergency numbers for each EU country you are visiting. Just remember 112!
So whether we need the Fire service in France, an ambulance in Amsterdam, the Police in Poland or the Coast guard in Cork, 112 is the number to call.
The number 999 was first introduced in the London area on 30 June 1937, and the UK's 999 number is the world's oldest emergency call service. So how long has the 112 number been around?
The European Union adopted the 112 number as a standard on 29 July 1991 and has been around since. A report by Flash Euro barometer 339 stated that:
“The single European emergency number 112 was adopted by Council decision in July
1991 in order to enable citizens of the EU to call the emergency services (i.e. police, fire
and ambulance) by using the same number from anywhere in the EU1. This is particularly
Important as European citizens are increasingly travelling to other EU countries for work,
Study or leisure. Since the end of 2008, all EU Member States are supposed to have
Ensured that anyone can call the emergency services from fixed and mobile phones by
using the 112 number.”
For any of us hard of hearing it is possible to contact 112 by text with some network providers... (Better to check with your own mobile network provider)
A large majority of EU citizens are still unaware that the European emergency number 112 can be used across the EU in case of emergency: only 26% of EU citizens could spontaneously identify 112 as the number to call for emergency services in the EU according to the last Eurobarometer survey.
The European Commission launched this 112 website to raise awareness about the single European emergency number 112, which provides user-friendly country information to citizens who would like to be informed about 112 and interactive games aimed at children.
112 is your pan-European number to access the Emergency Services whilst travelling within the EU.
In Ireland, 999 and 112 exist equally and run in parallel. Regardless of which number you call in Ireland, there will be no difference and the call will be handled in the same manner.
Further information regarding the background to the 112 number.
A full list of the EU countries where 112 is accessible is below:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Please note that the following Member States also include the territories listed below:
France: Guyane, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion
Spain: Canary Islands
Portugal: Azores and Madeira
Major rail, air and other transport companies have joined EU CommissionersNeelie Kroes and Sim Kallas in a yearlong campaign to make people travelling in the EU aware of 112 - Europe's single emergency number. Whether for skiing holidays, family days out and about, work-related trips or visits to this summer's sporting events including the London Olympics or Euro 2012 UEFA football championship in Poland and Ukraine, hundreds of thousands tourists and visitors will travel across Europe this year, and need to be informed about this life-saving number.
There has even been an European 112 Day (11/2-11 February) where under the Initiative of Vice Presidents of the European Commission Kroes and Kallas
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 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 to identify callers, in particular in order not to report the same incident twice.
Do not hang up if you call 112 by mistake! Tell the operator that everything is fine. Otherwise, emergency assistance may have to be sent out to check there is no problem.
So when we are travelling at home or abroad (in Europe) remember 112.And any of us who are familiar with all the U.S. Sitcoms 911 is the emergency number to use there.
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