If you need an ambulance while on holiday in the Algarve, what number do you call. If you see a fire in a EuroCamp, how do you contact les sapeurs-pompiers? If your wallet mysteriously disappears in Barcelona, how do you ring the Guardia Civil? (even though they couldn’t help you)

The answer is surprisingly simple, DIAL 112, but not well known. Since 1991 this has been the standard emergency number in Europe including Britain. All the countries have their local numbers but, in theory they will be phased out. I can’t imagine 999 going out of use in a hurry!

112 is also the international emergency number on GSM mobile phones, though not other networks.

Many countries accept the well known emergency numbers for other states as well. e.g. New Zealand’s national number is 111 but they accept 000 for the Australians, 999 for the British, 911 for the Americans and now 112 for Europeans.

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