112 (emergency telephone number)

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112 is the common emergency telephone number that can be dialed free of charge from any fixed or mobile telephone in order to reach emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police) in numerous European countries, including all member states of the European Union, as well as several other countries in the world. In some countries other numbers previously used also continue to be available; e.g. 999 and 112 have a similar function in the UK, the difference being that 112 allows the emergency services to locate the geographical location of the caller whereas calls to 999 do not. In the United States, some carriers, including AT&T, will map the number 112 to its emergency number 9-1-1.

In some cases calls to emergency numbers can be made when other calls cannot, e.g., when a telephone has been barred from making outgoing calls for non-payment of bills.


112 is managed and financed in the European Union by each Member State (country) which also decide on the organisation of the emergency call centres. The number is also adopted in the candidates for EU accession and members of the EEA agreement.

The International Telecommunications Union recommends that member states that are selecting a primary or secondary emergency number choose either 911, 112 or both.[1] 112 is one of two numbers (the other being the region's own emergency number) that can be dialed on most GSM phones even if the phone is locked.[2] The GSM mobile phone standard designates 112 as an emergency number, so it will work on GSM phones even in North America where GSM systems redirect emergency calls to 911, or Australia where emergency calls are redirected to 000.


112 was first standardised by a decision of the EU Council in 1991[3] and subsequently reaffirmed in 2002 by article 26 of the Universal Service Directive[4] and its subsequent amendments.[5]

This choice of number has the following advantages:

  • Different digits: with the numeric keypads used universally today, using at least two different digits instead of the same digit repeatedly significantly reduces the risk of accidental calls. Young children, vibrations, defective keys and collisions with other objects are much more likely to press the same key repeatedly than a particular sequence of different keys, particularly with a button-operated keypad. Accidental calls to emergency centres from mobile phones, which can dial emergency numbers even with locked keypad, are a particular problem with same-digit numbers, such as the UK's 999.[6]
  • Low digits: in the days of rotary dial telephones, using only those digits that require the least dial rotation (1 and 2) permitted a dial lock[7] in hole 3 to effectively disable unauthorised access to the telephone network without preventing access to the emergency number 112. The same choice also maximised dialling speed. Additionally, telephone systems used pulse dialling instead of later DTMF tones; briefly activating the hook once has the same effect as dialling "1", so repeatedly pushing the hook might result in calling 1-1-1. For this reason, Germany's police department emergency number was changed from 111 to 110. With numeric keypads, pressing only the first and second button on the keypad is marginally easier in a difficult situation than other keys.


The 81 countries which use the 112 number for emergencies include:

  •  Algeria (mobile phones only)
  •  Andorra
  •  Australia (alongside 000)
  •  Austria (alongside 122 for Fire Department, 133 for Police, and 144 for Emergency Medical Services, 059133 is the non-emergency number for any local police department)
  •  Azerbaijan (Emergency telephone number that can be dialed free of charge from any telephone/any mobile phone in order to reach emergency services)
  •  Belarus (alongside 101 for Fire Department, 102 for Police, and 103 for Emergency Medical Services)
  •  Belgium (alongside 100 for Medical emergencies and the Fire Department and 101 for the Police)
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina (alongside 122 for Police, 123 for Fire Department and 124 for Emergency Medical Care)
  •  Brazil (alongside 193 for Fire Department, 190 for Police, and 192 for Emergency Medical Services)
  •  Bulgaria (former 150 for Medical emergencies, 166 for the Police and 160 for the Fire Department are redirected to 112 services)
  •  Canada (redirects to 911 on GSM mobile phone networks)
  •  Colombia (police only)
  •  Costa Rica (alongside 911, both function identically)
  •  Croatia
  •  Cyprus
  •  Czech Republic (alongside 155 for Hospital Ambulance, 158 for Police and 150 for Fire Department)
  •  Denmark (including  Greenland,  Faroe Islands). (Denmark also uses 114 for Police)
  •  Dominican Republic (alongside 911, both function identically)
  •  East Timor
  •  Egypt
  •  Estonia (alongside 110 for Police)
  •  Finland (including  Åland)
  •  France (alongside 15 for Medical Emergency, 17 for Law Enforcement and 18 for Fire & Rescue)
  •  Germany (alongside 110 for Police)
  •  Gibraltar
  •  Georgia
  •  Greece (alongside 100 for the police, 108 for port police, 166 for medical emergencies and 199 for the fire service)
  •  Hong Kong (Redirects to 999 on mobile phone networks)
  •  Hungary (alongside 104 for ambulance & emergency medical services, 105 for fire-brigade, rescue services, civil protection, 107 for police)
  •  Iceland
  •  India (police only)
  •  Indonesia (mobile only, police only)
  •  Iran (redirects to 110 on GSM mobile phone networks)
  •  Ireland (alongside 999)
  •  Israel (mobile phones only, alongside 100 for police, 101 for medical emergency and 102 for fire service)
  •  Italy (Carabinieri only, they can forward the call to other emergency services)
  •  Jordan (alongside 911, both function identically)
  •  Kazakhstan
  •  Kuwait
  •  Latvia
  •  Lebanon (police only)
  •  Liechtenstein (Emergency Services)
  •  Lithuania
  •  Luxembourg (alongside 113 for Police)
  •  Macau (alongside 999)
  •  Macedonia (alongside 192 for Police, 193 for Fire Department, 194 for Emergency Medical Care)
  •  Malta
  •  Malaysia (redirects to 999 on mobile phone networks)
  •  Mauritius (police only)D
  •  Moldova (redirects to 902 only on cellphone networks)
  •  Monaco
  •  Montenegro (alongside 122 for Police, 123 for Fire Department and 124 for Emergency Medical Care)
  •    Nepal (112 police only)
  •  Netherlands (0900-8844 is the non-emergency number for any local police department)
  •  New Zealand (redirects to 111)
  •  Norway (police only, 110 for the fire department and 113 for emergency medical care. 02800 is the non-emergency number for any local police department)
  •  Panama (alongside 911, both function identically)
  •  Pakistan (mobile phones only)
  •  Poland (alongside 999 for emergency medical care, 998 for fire service, and 997 for local police; full functionality planned for 2014)
  •  Portugal (redirects to Emergency Call Centre, 117 is used for reporting Fire related incidents, e.g. Forest Fire (main application))
  •  Romania
  •  Russia
  •  Rwanda (police only)
  •  San Marino (police only)
  •  Saudi Arabia
  •  Serbia (alongside 192 for police, 193 for fire department, and 194 for emergency medical care)
  •  Slovakia (alongside 155 for hospital ambulance, 158 for police and 150 for fire department)
  •  Slovenia (alongside 113 for police)
  •  South Africa (mobile phones only)
  •  South Korea (police only)
  •  Spain (alongside 091 for Police, 061 for hospital ambulance and 062 for Guardia Civil)
  •  Sri Lanka (police only)
  •  Sweden (alongside 114 14 for non-emergency calls to the police)
  •   Switzerland (alongside 117 for Police, 144 for Hospital Ambulance and 118 for Fire Department)
  •  Syria (police only)
  •  Taiwan (Mobile phones only. Press "0" for police(110), press "9" for fire department(119).)
  •  Turkey (ambulance only; a pilot project is under way which will enable the usage of the number for all emergency calls)
  •  Ukraine (Pilot project in Kharkiv and Lviv; Kiev and Donetsk to be covered in 2012 with nationwide coverage afterwards)[8][9][10]
  •  United Arab Emirates (police only)
  •  United Kingdom (alongside 999, both numbers function identically)
  •  Vanuatu
  •   Vatican City (Gendarmerie only)
  •  Zambia (mobile phones only)
  •  Zimbabwe


E112 is a location-enhanced version of 112. The telecom operator transmits the location information to the emergency centre. The EU Directive E112 (2003) requires mobile phone networks to provide emergency services with whatever information they have about the location a mobile call was made. This directive is based on the FCC's Enhanced 911 ruling in 2001.

The new eCall project for automated emergency calls from cars is based on E1000.

Next Generation 112 (NG112)[edit]

NG112 is defined by two major aspects:

  • Interoperability between emergency services: NG112 enables the several Public Safety Answering Points to be part of a common emergency service IP-network, providing them with redundancy and interoperability features. This network should support data and communications needs for coordinated incident management between PSAPs and provide a reliable and secure environment for emergency communications.
  • Communication between citizens and emergency services: NG112 is designed to enable citizens to reach an authority (e.g., PSAP) by calls using VoIP, text messaging, instant messaging, real-time text, pictures and videos. It could also provide emergency services with more data such as telematics and health data. NG112 enables the delivery of calls, messages and data to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and other appropriate emergency entities and makes call handling easier.

European 112 Day[edit]

Since 2009 and a tripartite convention signed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, 11 February (11/2) is the European 112 Day. At this occasion, events take place to promote the existence and the appropriate use of the EU emergency number.

Expert Group on Emergency Access (EGEA)[edit]

Getting 112 to work across the EU is a complex task. It requires in particular coordination between civil protection administrations (the emergency authorities who handle the call) and electronic communications administrations (who have to make sure that a 112 call reaches the emergency operator). That is why the Commission decided to act at European level and set up the Expert Group on Emergency Access (EGEA) at the end of 2005.

The objective of the group is to deal with practical issues Member States are facing to provide an efficient and effective 112 service to citizens. This group seeks practical solutions to problems experienced by the emergency services at local, regional or national levels and deals with issues related to the application of new technologies for communication with emergency services.

European Emergency Number Association[edit]

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a Brussels-based NGO set up in 1999 dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU. EENA serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, decision makers, associations and solution providers in view of improving emergency response in accordance with citizens' requirements. EENA is also promoting the establishment of an efficient system for alerting citizens about imminent or developing emergencies.

In January 2014, the EENA memberships include 980 emergency services representatives from more than 50 countries, 64 solution providers, 50 researchers, 9 international associations/organisations as well as 150 Members of the European Parliament.

112 Foundation[edit]

The 112 Foundation was created to promote the knowledge and appropriate use of the European emergency number 112. Its main objective is to provide all citizens and organisations willing to inform and educate on 112 with information materials and guidelines to organise information campaigns.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guidelines to select Emergency Number for public telecommunications networks" (PDF). International Telecommunications Union. 15 May 2008. p. 4. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  2. ^ 3rd Generation Partnership Project (June 2002), 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Services and System Aspects; Man-Machine Interface (MMI) of the Mobile Station (MS);Service description, Stage 1 (Release 1998), 3GPP TS 02.30 V7.1.1 
  3. ^ "91/396/EEC: Council Decision of 29 July 1991 on the introduction of a single European emergency call number". eur-lex.europa.edu. 29 July 1991. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)". eur-lex.europa.edu. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009". eur-lex.europa.edu. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Mobiles blamed for emergency calls, BBC News, 2000-03-21.
  7. ^ Such locks were commonly used, e.g. "ABUS Telefonschloß T70 für Wählscheiben" in Germany.
  8. ^ "Emergency Ministry: 112 emergency call service will be active throughout Ukraine by 2012". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  9. ^ "Служба экстренного вызова "112" будет действовать по всей Украине к 2012 году, заявляют в МинЧС". Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  10. ^ "Yanukovych signs law on 112 emergency number". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 

External links[edit]