112: single EU emergency number
112 is the European emergency number you can dial free of charge from fixed and mobile phones everywhere in the EU. It will get you straight through to the emergency services – police, ambulance, fire brigade.
National emergency numbers are still in use too, alongside 112. But 112 is the only number you can use to access the emergency services in all EU countries.
112 is also used in some countries outside the EU - such as Switzerland and South Africa.
Preventing a disaster
Anasthassios from Greece had a fire in his apartment in Lisbon just after moving there to study. He didn't know the Portuguese emergency services number, but he remembered he could use the 112 emergency number in Portugal, just as in his native Greece or anywhere in the EU. So he dialled 112 and got straight through to Lisbon emergency services which sent the fire brigade to his home straight away.
When you're travelling in the EU, remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. If you need emergency medical care, the EHIC card will simplify the paperwork and help you get refunded for any public health care expenses.
116 000: missing children
You can use the hotline to report a missing child; it also provides guidance and support to the families of missing children.
How to report a missing child
On holiday in France, Andreas and Kirsten, a couple from Germany were distraught when their daughter went missing while on an excursion. Some hours later they still hadn't found her. They reported the case to the police but also remembered the number available in Germany for reporting cases of missing children. Knowing that the 116 000 hotline worked in France too, they dialled the number and got advice on how to handle their case with the French authorities.