How does it work?
- You can call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.
- A specially trained operator will answer any 112 call. The operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer the call to the most appropriate emergency service depending on the national organisation of emergency services.
- Operators in many countries can answer the calls not only in their national language, but also in English or French. If the caller does not know where he is, the operator will identify where the person making the call is physically located and will pass it to the emergency authorities so that these can help immediately.
- 112 is also used in some countries outside the EU - such as Switzerland and South Africa - and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.
- 112 functions alongside existing national emergency numbers. Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden have opted for 112 as their only national emergency number.
- 112 operators respond only to real emergencies. They do not provide traffic and weather reports, general information or answers to queries.
- Hoax Calls to 112 are a waste the time and money of the emergency operators and can also be dangerous and a criminal offence in most countries.
New cars are equipped with eCall technology, which automatically dials 112 in the event of a serious road accident and communicates the vehicle's location to the emergency services.
EU Rules on 112
112 became the single European emergency number in 1991. The European Electronic Communications Code ensures that Europeans can call European emergency number 112 from any type of phone, wherever they are in Europe, ensuring:
- European citizens gain better access to 112 not only by traditional telephony but also using new technologies (such as VoIP)
- operators provide information about caller location to emergency authorities
- improved access to 112 for people with disabilities
The Roaming Regulation obliges roaming service providers to send an SMS to people travelling to another EU country with information about the European emergency number 112.
112 Day: raising awareness of EU single emergency number
February 11 is the European 112 Day. On this day, different awareness and networking activities are organised throughout the EU in order to promote the existence and use of Europe's single emergency number.
The European Commission publishes regular reports on the implementation of the European emergency number in EU countries, and as of 2020 the Commission submits the report to the European Parliament and the Council every two years.