Dialing emergency while traveling abroad

Knowing what number to dial in case of emergency is arguably one of the most important pieces of information when traveling to a foreign location. Different countries may use different 2, 3 or more digit combinations to connect users to an emergency operator. Thankfully, efforts have been made to standardize the way we are able to reach for help when facing an emergency situation.

What number to dial for emergency in a foreign country?

There are quite a few different phone numbers in use these days around the world for dialing the three most common emergency services (Police, Firefighters and Ambulance). In some countries a single code is used for all three (e.g. 911 in the US, 000 in Australia or 112 in the European Union), while elswhere each emergency service can be dialed using a different number (e.g. 110, 119 and 120 in China).

The above being said, if, in case of an emergency you'll be using a cell phone to ask for help, your home country emergency number is likely to connect you while traveling abroad. This is possible because modern wireless devices are designed to recognize the most ubiquitous short numbers used around the world for emergency such as 211, 911, 999 or 000. So there is a great chance that dialing 911 in Europe or 211 in Australia will connect you to an emergency dispatch center.

Do not, however, solely rely on the convenient standardization described above. There are situations when you will have to dial the local emergency number. For example, when using a landline to call or when different numbers are used for different emergency services in your destination country (usually, in these situations, dialing a common code like 911 will usually connect you to the Police, while you may want to call an ambulance).

Do your homework before departing, store your destination country's local emergency number(s) in your phone's memory. Do a bit of research depending on where you'll be traveling. Some countries may not even have a centralized emergency dispatch service available at all/everywhere. This is often the case in developing countries where contacting a local, sometimes private dispatch could be an/the only option.

This website provides local emergency numbers for each country, where available. Please use the top menu to choose a country. Note that, while we do our best to provide the most accurate information available, we can not guarantee that these numbers work in all cases or that you'll receive the level of service you would expect when dialing emergency in your home country.

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