Wednesday, February 22, 2012

112 day: 74 % of Europeans don't know what emergency number to call when travelling in the EU

Whether for skiing holidays, family days out, business travel or visits to this summer's sporting events, including the London Olympics or Euro 2012 UEFA football in Poland and Ukraine, millions of Europeans and visitors need access to emergency services in and outside their home country. Yet only 34% of regular travellers and 26% of all Europeans know that 112 is the single emergency number they can call, both in and outside their home country when in trouble. 
Many major rail, air and other transport companies have joined Vice Presidents Neelie Kroes and Siim Kallas in a campaign to raise 112 awareness rates. The emergency number will be publicised without cost to taxpayers on e-tickets, in on-board magazines, on their company websites and through their staff. The list of participating companies can be consulted on

Vice Presidents Kroes and Kallas have decided to work together to ensure every European can access a 112 smartphone app, in their own language. In recent years many 112 mobile apps have been developed, but much more can be done in this field. 

Vice President Neelie Kroes said "You can save a life by knowing and dialing 112. But 112 only helps if people know about it. So we are working with travel companies to catch attention while people are en route to their destination."

Vice President Siim Kallas said "I welcome the commitment of the transport sector in Europe to make every traveller aware of the 112 emergency number. 112 is an essential safety tool in transport. The list of participating companies will be open all year long and judging from the interest shown, many more companies are likely to follow.
112 is the European emergency number, reachable from fixed and mobile phones, free of charge, everywhere in the EU. 112 links the caller to the relevant emergency service (local police, fire brigade or medical services) and is available 24-hours a day. 112 is now operational in all EU member states alongside existing national emergency numbers (like 999 or 110). Denmark, Finland, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden, and have decided to make 112 their sole or main national emergency number. 112 is also being used in countries outside the EU, such as in Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey. Ukraine has also committed to introduce this number in the cities which will host Euro 2012 football matches (Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kiev and Lviv) by the beginning of the sports event.
The Eurobarometer survey published today shows that Europeans' awareness of the availability of 112 in their country and in other EU Member States is stagnating. To address this issue, Vice-Presidents Kallas and Kroes wrote to the main transport companies on 27 January 2012 calling on them to inform their passengers about the 112 emergency number. This initiative builds on a similar campaign successfully launched by former MEP Diana Wallis last year. It is also supported by the 112 European Foundation.
Mobile phone applications – apps – are computer software developed for mobile phones that help users complete a task. They can be pre-installed on phones by manufacturers and are available for purchase and download through "app stores".
A report on how each Member State is implementing 112 (also issued today) gives a snapshot of the different languages to which 112 call centres can respond
  • English can be used in 25 countries (besides UK, Ireland and Malta): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, as well as Croatia, Iceland and Norway.
  • 14 countries (besides Belgium, France and Luxembourg) can deal with calls in French: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
  • German can be used in 112 calls in 12 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Romania (in addition to Austria, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg)
  • Italian speakers can also make 112 calls in their native language in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Russian speakers can get help over 112 in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
  • In the UK, emergency call centres can rely on interpretation services covering 170 languages, while in France a similar service can deal with 40 languages;
Useful links

112 website (available in English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish):
How 112 works in my country:
Kids' corner (available in all 23 official EU languages):
Full report and summary of Eurobarometer "The European Emergency Number 112" and
COCOM report and annex on the implementation of 112: