When you’re in a foreign country, being prepared for unexpected situations is crucial for your safety and well-being. One of the most vital pieces of information to have at hand is a set of emergency contact numbers relevant to your location.
Whether you find yourself needing immediate medical assistance, police intervention, or other specialized services, knowing the right numbers to dial can make all the difference.
- 110 is the emergency number for police in Germany.
- 112 is the number for fire and medical emergencies, as well as the general European Emergency Number.
- Non-emergency numbers provide valuable assistance for less urgent situations.
- Specialized emergency services like poison control and women’s crisis centers exist for specific needs.
- Proper procedures must be followed when making an emergency call in Germany.
Basic Emergency Numbers
It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with three primary emergency numbers in Germany.
|Type of Emergency
|For immediate police intervention, such as theft, acts of violence, or significant disturbances.
|For fire emergencies like building fires, forest fires, or small uncontrolled blazes.
|For medical emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, or severe injuries requiring immediate attention.
These are designated for specific types of emergencies and are available 24/7:
If you encounter situations that require immediate police intervention, such as theft, acts of violence, or significant disturbances, you should dial 110. This will connect you to the nearest police dispatch center.
If you come across a fire emergency—a building alight, a forest fire, or even a small but uncontrollable blaze in a public area—dial 112 to alert the fire department. They will respond swiftly to handle the situation.
In case of a medical emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, or severe injury from an accident, 112 is the number to call. This connects you to medical services that will guide you through the immediate steps to take while waiting for an ambulance or medical personnel to arrive.
These numbers are toll-free and can be dialed from any landline, public phone booth, or mobile phone—even without a SIM card. When in doubt, 112 serves as a general emergency number that can connect you to multiple services, including fire and medical assistance.
International Emergency Number
Navigating emergency situations in a foreign country can be particularly challenging, but the European Union has standardized certain emergency services to make it easier. The number 112 is not only designated for fire and medical emergencies in Germany; it is also the European Emergency Number.
You are automatically connected to emergency services when you dial 112 in Germany or any other EU country. This centralized approach ensures that even if you’re unfamiliar with the country-specific emergency numbers, 112 will always get you the help you need.
Moreover, it is standard practice for operators answering 112 calls to be able to communicate in multiple languages, including English. This means that if you’re an English speaker, you’ll be able to articulate your situation and receive the appropriate help, minimizing the language barrier during critical moments.
While the urgency of certain situations demands immediate attention and the use of emergency numbers, other scenarios require assistance but aren’t necessarily life-threatening. For these cases, Germany offers a variety of specialized non-emergency numbers.
Local clinics are a suitable first point of contact if you’re experiencing a medical issue that isn’t urgent but still requires professional advice. Your nearest embassy can also recommend healthcare providers where English-speaking medical personnel are available.
For matters requiring police attention but not immediate intervention—like reporting a lost item or filing a minor complaint—you can reach out to your local police station. The contact numbers for local police stations can typically be found online or through local directories.
Many German cities offer information hotlines for residents and visitors. These services provide general advice and information, from public transportation details to city event schedules. Some even offer multilingual support.
Specialized Emergency Services
In addition to the basic and non-emergency numbers, Germany also has specialized services designed to handle specific types of emergencies. These services are integral to addressing issues that may not fall under the purview of the general emergency numbers.
If you or someone you know is exposed to a toxic substance, Germany has poison control centers that can provide immediate expert advice. The guidance they offer can be invaluable in mitigating the effects of poisoning until medical help arrives.
Women’s Crisis Centers
Women’s Crisis Centers are available for women who find themselves in distressing situations, such as domestic violence or abuse. These centers offer emergency shelter, legal advice, and emotional support services.
Child Protection Services
Instances of child endangerment or abuse should be reported to Child Protection Services. This agency is equipped to take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of children at risk.
Roadside assistance services can be summoned for vehicle-related emergencies like breakdowns or accidents where no one is severely injured. These services can help with towing, minor repairs, or even navigating insurance procedures.
How to Make an Emergency Call
When faced with an emergency situation, knowing the numbers to call is only half the battle. Understanding the proper procedure for making an emergency call in Germany can be equally crucial.
Step 1: Dial the Appropriate Emergency Number
Dial the number that corresponds to the type of emergency you are facing—110 for police, 112 for fire or medical emergencies.
Step 2: Clearly State the Nature of Your Emergency
Once connected to an operator, you’ll be asked to provide information about the emergency. Speak as clearly as possible to convey the nature and severity of the situation.
Step 3: Provide Your Location
Give your exact location to the operator, including any landmarks or cross streets that could help emergency services find you faster. If you are indoors, provide the building name and floor level if possible.
Step 4: Stay on the Line
It’s imperative to stay on the line until the operator tells you it’s okay to hang up. You may receive further instructions or questions that can assist emergency personnel en route to your location.
If you are not fluent in German, it’s essential to inform the operator immediately. Say that you need an English-speaking operator.
Check out our previous blog post about a newcomer’s guide to living in Germany.
Although 112 operators often speak English, making it clear you require assistance in English can expedite the process.
What to Do After Making an Emergency Call
Once you have successfully made an emergency call in Germany, the next steps you take are crucial in ensuring a timely and effective response from emergency services. Here are some general guidelines:
Wait for Assistance to Arrive
After making the call, stay at the location you provided to the emergency operator unless it is unsafe to do so. Moving from your reported location can lead to delays in receiving the help you need.
Follow Operator Instructions
If the operator gave you any specific instructions during the call, be sure to follow them carefully. This could range from administering first aid to securing a scene.
Prepare for Identification and Paperwork
Should your emergency situation lead you to a German emergency room or police station, it’s generally required for you to show identification. Keep your passport or any form of valid ID accessible. You may also need to provide relevant medical records, if available.
Cooperate Fully with Emergency Personnel
Once emergency services arrive, cooperate fully and provide any additional information they may need. This helps them make accurate assessments and take appropriate action.
Taking these steps ensures that you are doing your part in facilitating the work of emergency services. While it is natural to be anxious or distressed during an emergency, adhering to these guidelines can significantly aid in ensuring a more organized and effective response.