When can I call 112?

The emergency number 112 is for when you need urgent help, for instance when your life is in immediate danger, or if someone is seriously injured and needs prompt medical attention, or if you have witnessed a serious crime like assault, murder, robbery or a break-in.

Which service do you require?

When you call 112, please tell the operator:

  • what has happened;
  • what assistance is needed;
  • and what type of emergency service you think is required: the police, the fire brigade or the ambulance service.

The emergency operator will put you straight through to the appropriate emergency service in your area.

In an emergency, call 112

When should you call 112? Here are some examples:

  • You’ve have had a car accident. No one has been injured, but you and your vehicle are a hazard

    Because the situation is potentially life-threatening, call 112.
  • You see someone breaking into a car

    You are the witness to a crime. You should call 112.
  • Someone is threatening you, in a public place or in your home

    You are facing an immediate threat. Call 112, or ask a bystander to do so.
  • Someone is trying to break down your front door

    You are facing an immediate threat. Call 112.
  • Your neighbours are having a terrible row. It sounds as if someone is being beaten up

    This is a potentially life-threatening situation. Call 112.

When there’s no emergency, but you still need help

If you need help, but not urgently, you can call the police using the national number 0900 8844 (local rates apply). The number of the nearest fire brigade can be found on their website.

Here are some examples of non-urgent situations.

  • You have had an accident, but the car is only dented

    This is not a life-threatening situation.
  • You come home to find that your house has been burgled. The culprits are gone

    Because the culprits are not there, the situation is not urgent. To report the crime, call the police on 0900 8844.
  • You find an animal stuck somewhere and unable to free itself

    The fire brigade may come, but this is not an emergency. Call your local fire brigade.
  • You have no power, and the blackout appears to extend to the entire street

    Call your electricity company.