Sunday, August 07, 2022

A 2012 survey of over 2,000 people across the UK found that only 14% know that dialling 112 in the UK will reach the emergency services and only 3% recognised it was the EU emergency number. Do you know what it is for?

The European Commission created the European emergency number – 112 – to make it easier for people travelling within the European Union to access emergency services. The number works in all EU Member States and connects the caller to the local emergency services hotline. 112 European Emergency Number

Previous research carried out by the European Commission shows that the UK is one of three countries in Europe where awareness of the 112 emergency number is lowest. When asked to state what the number 112 is for, over half of people surveyed by the FCO (51%) admitted they did not know, with 12% believing it connected them to directory enquiries. A range of other interesting definitions were offered with some believing it could be ‘a brand of perfume or aftershave’, ‘the number of a bus’ or as one person stated, ‘a pair of Levi jeans’.

Lynda St Cooke from the FCO’s Know Before You Go campaign said: “Knowing that you can phone 112 can save you time in critical situations. It is an essential number which we would encourage everyone to carry with them when on holiday in Europe, just as they would carry contact details for their hotel or car rental company. With luck you will never have to use it, but being prepared means you don’t have to worry about the local number to call if you or your family find yourselves in an emergency situation.”

You can still  use 999 in the UK to call the emergency services but 112 also connects you, so it is good to learn 112 and to teach children about it;  especially if you are frequent travellers or you are resident in Portugal or any other EU country.