How to Call For Help Around the World: Emergency Numbers and Instructions for Travelers

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In Asia, a number of countries use 999 including Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and  Singapore, and 112 is in use in several countries including  Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Turkey.  The Phillipines uses 117 although 112 and 911 will work as well, and Pakistan uses 15 for police, 115/1122 for medical, and 16 for fire.

China uses 120 for medical, 119 for fire, and 122 for reporting traffic accidents.  India uses 2611 (one of the few four-digit emergency numbers), and Japan uses 110 for police and 119 for medical and fire.

You’ll encounter a variety of numbers in other parts of the world, including 000 in Australia, 911 in Fiji, and 111 in New Zealand.


In Central America and the Caribbean, many countries including Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic support both 911 and 112, but it’s 118 in Nicaragua and 199 in Honduras.

In South America, French Guyana has two-digit numbers, 17 for police, 15 for medical, 18 for fire, while Argentina uses 101, 107, 100 respectively.  Brazil uses 190 for police, 192 for medical, and 193 for fire, while Colombia uses 156, 132, and 119.  Uruguay incidentally, uses 911.

North America, thanks to the consistency of the North American Numbering Plan, is easy.  All of Canada and the United States uses 911 for all emergencies.  Mexico uses 066 for police, 065 for medical, and 068 for fire.  In some regions of the country, 911 will work, in particular in more densely-populated areas.


Most mobile phones are capable of dialing emergency numbers such as 112 and 911 even when the keypad is locked or even without the presence of a SIM card.  In many cases, a traveler can dial one of the standard emergency numbers and the call will go through, regardless of the country’s local emergency number, because the mobile phone doesn’t transmit the actual number dialed, but rather initiates an emergency-call setup.

Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to know what number(s) to call in an emergency.  Operators and dispatchers have been trained to not only dispatch police, fire, and emergency vehicles but also to help callers deal with life-threatening situations and instruct people how to perform first aid or CPR over the phone.

Next: How to Ask for Help in Ten Languages

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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