Just as more and more people began travelling across borders in Europe, it became essential to know that emergency services were reachable through the same number, 112, anywhere in Europe. ‘112’ was adopted as the single European emergency number in 1991.
Informing you better on how to access to emergency services
In the 30 years that 112 has been in use, the Commission has been continuously working to ensure everyone is able to reach 112 easily and effectively, using the most recent technologies. Recently, EU co-legislators reached an agreement on the Commission’s proposal to upgrade the Roaming Regulation, which allows Europeans visiting other EU countries to use their phone abroad at no extra cost. The updated Roaming rules will also ensure that citizens have enhanced access to emergency service and that they are adequately located during emergency calls, free of charge. By June 2023, operators will automatically send customers an SMS when they travel abroad to inform them about 112 and about the available alternative means of accessing emergency services, such as through real-time-text or apps, for people with disabilities. People living with disabilities must have the same possibility to access emergency services when travelling.
Unlocking the benefits of new technologies for access to emergency services
The Commission is working to enhance the functioning of emergency communications across the EU. The EU telecom rules aim to ensure that the latest smartphone technology, Advanced Mobile Location, a service available on smartphones that transmit the location of a caller in distress with an accuracy of up to 5 metres. Accurately detecting a caller’s location and quickly sending it to responders can save time and lives. In order to ensure the right technical conditions for accurate and quick location detection in emergencies, the Commission adopted a Delegated regulation, which will apply from 22 March 2022. Smartphone manufacturers will be obliged to ensure that data from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), at least from EU’s Galileo, and that data from Wi-Fi, are made available in emergency communications.
The Commission is taking steps to further improve the functioning of ‘112’. They should make the transmission of emergency calls to the closest emergency call centre more effective, ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to emergency services and that caller location transmission is accurate and quick. The Commission will adopt a delegated act by the end of 2022.
Remembering 112 can save lives across the EU
The Commission closely follows how European countries are doing in implementing the 112 emergency number. It publishes regularly reports on the implementation of 112 in EU Member States. The latest Eurobarometer found that 74% of EU citizens surveyed replied they would dial 112 to reach emergency services in their home country, and 41% said they would do so if they found themselves in another EU country. Knowing the single, European emergency number can help save lives if one finds themselves in a stressful, emergency situation when travelling abroad in Europe.
Help spread the word about 112!
Each year on 11 February, awareness-raising activities are organised across the EU to promote the existence and knowledge of Europe’s single emergency number - follow & join #112Day2022.
Accurate mobile location (AML) helped dispatchers send help to a child in Slovenia, find lost hikers in Belgium & to trace a dropped call in Ireland - see how else AML is saving lives.