Police, fire department, ambulance: which number to call if you have a problem in France?

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Photos by Laurent de Sortiraparis · Published on January 24th, 2024 at 01:22 a.m.
Police, fire department, SAMU - what numbers do you need to call if you have a problem in France? 15, 17, 18, 112, 114 - we explain it all to you.

During your stay in Paris, it's essential to know the emergency numbers in case of a problem. Whether you're faced with an urgent medical situation, a road accident or any other situation requiring immediate assistance, the number to dial in an emergency is 112, the universal emergency number that will put you in touch with the police , fire department or SAMU (Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente) depending on the situation and the nature of the emergency.

It's important to note that knowledge of French is not necessary when calling 112. Operators can answer in both French and English, making it easier to communicate with tourists. These operators are trained to guide you effectively and put you in touch with the appropriate emergency services. The rapid response of emergency services can make all the difference in the event of a critical situation. Enjoy your stay in Paris with complete peace of mind, informed and prepared for any eventuality.

In addition to the European emergency number 112, there are specific numbers for particular situations:

  • Dial 15 to contact the SAMU (Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente): Use 15 in the event of a major medical emergency requiring rapid medical intervention. The SAMU specializes in dealing with serious medical situations, such as accidents, discomfort in public places, urgent health problems or situations requiring a medical ambulance.
  • Dial 17 to contact the police: Dial 17 to report situations involving public safety or to request police assistance. This number is appropriate for incidents such as robberies with or without violence, assaults, road accidents, burglaries or any other situation requiring the intervention of the forces of law and order. Tip from the Préfecture de Police: remember to describe the assailants, note down license plate numbers, indicate the direction of escape, etc.
  • Dial 18 to contact the fire department: In the event of an emergency situation requiring the intervention of the fire department, dial 18. Firefighters are trained to handle emergencies related to fires, road accidents, floods, domestic accidents, people in peril(drowning, etc.) and other incidents requiring assistance related to safety risks.
  • 114 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing: The emergency number reserved exclusively for people who have difficulty hearing or speaking. This single, free national number is available 24/7 to alert emergency services or to communicate with them by fax or SMS.

It's vital to know these specific numbers in addition to 112, as they enable a rapid response adapted to specific situations. Memorize them or keep them handy, as they can be vital in critical moments when every second counts. If in doubt about which number to dial, 112 is always a good option, redirecting your call to the appropriate service.

All these emergency numbers can be used to contact emergency services free of charge, 24 hours a day. However, as the Préfecture de Police de Paris points out, "Only call in an emergency! Every unjustified call delays the rescue of a person in distress by teams of doctors, nurses, firefighters or police officers. Abusing emergency numbers... seriously harms those who need it."

More information on the Service-Public website.

For administrative problems such as loss of passport, find here all the consulates in Paris and the different ways to contact them.

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