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112 emergency number saves lives – EU teams up with top airlines for campaign

Thursday 16, February 2012

 

112 emergency number saves lives – EU teams up with top airlines for campaign

 

New European Commission figures reveal only 13 per cent of those surveyed in the UK know 112 is the telephone number to call in an emergency anywhere in Europe.

 

The 112 number works in every member state, alongside the various national numbers like the UK's 999, which will not change. 

 

The Commission also announced today that British Airways, easyJet and other major transport companies across Europe have teamed-up in an awareness campaign. They will include the 112 number on e-tickets, in onboard magazines and on their websites. 

 

Across Europe, 26% of those asked knew about the number. The UK is one of three countries (Greece and Italy: 6 per cent) in Europe where awareness of the emergency number is lowest. 

 

The survey of over 1,500 people across the UK also found that only 13 per cent had received any information in the past 12 months that dialling 112 will reach the emergency services.  

 

Knowing the 112 emergency number could prove especially important this summer when sport fans travel to the UEFA football championships being held in Poland and the Ukraine.  It could also be a lifesaver for people visiting the UK for the Olympic Games. 

 

The EU Commissioner  for digital and IT issues Neelie Kroes said: "You can save a life by knowing and dialling 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." 

 

Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said: "I welcome the commitment of the transport sector in Europe to make every traveller aware of the 112 emergency number. Many more companies are likely to follow."  

 

The Eurobarometer poll was undertaken to mark European 112 Day (11 February) which was established in 2009 involving the Commission, European Parliament and member states to help spread the word about the common emergency number.

 

Background 

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 (police, fire brigade or ambulance, mountain rescue and coastguard) 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, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Romania and Malta 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 (Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, 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. 

 

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 24 countries (besides UK, Ireland and Malta): Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Portugal, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden, as well as Croatia, Iceland and Norway. 

 

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.

 

 

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