Healthcare Basics

Emergency numbers in Switzerland

From healthcare problems to embassy contacts, vets, and lost property, here’s what you need to know about emergency numbers in Switzerland.

Emergency number Switzerland

By Stephen Maunder

Updated 13-3-2024

If you have a life-threatening crisis, you can call the Europe-wide emergency phone number 112. If your situation is not that dire, there are a wide range of other numbers and useful helplines that offer support.

Here’s who to call in Switzerland:

Allianz Care

Allianz Care is a world leader in providing international health insurance. Their various premiums provide professionally designed solutions for a variety of expat lifestyles. So, wherever your life takes you, make sure you have the right health protection for you and your family with Allianz Care.

Emergency numbers in Switzerland

There are three main emergency services in Switzerland: the medical service, the police (Fedpol), and the fire service. In an emergency, call one of the following numbers from any telephone in Switzerland:

  • Police: 117
  • Fire service: 118
  • Medical service: 144

If you call the pan-European emergency number (112) in any type of emergency in Switzerland, you’ll be put through to an operator who will then direct you to the appropriate emergency service.

Fire services in Switzerland

Most fire services in Switzerland are called Militia Fire Brigades (Miliz Feuerwehr). You can contact your local fire brigade in Switzerland at their emergency number: 118.

Fire brigade in Lucerne
A fire brigade in Lucerne

The Swiss government also advises that you follow these steps if you encounter a fire:

  • Raise the alarm: call the fire service on 118 and also warn any people who could be in danger.
  • Rescue others: rescue people as well as animals from areas that are on fire. Close windows and doors and then leave the scene of the fire using emergency exits. If the emergency exits cannot be used due to flames or smoke, stay in the room and wait by the window for the fire service to arrive.
  • Put out the fire: Fight the fire using suitable means (e.g., portable fire extinguisher, fire blankets). Indicate the source of the fire as soon as the fire service arrives.

Police in Switzerland

In Switzerland, you can contact the police on their emergency number (117) from any phone.

Police car in the mountains of Ticino
A police car in the mountains of Ticino

You can contact your regional police service in Switzerland using the following emergency numbers:

  • Swiss Federal Police: 058 463 1123 or via the website of the Swiss Federal Police
  • Geneva regional police: 022 427 8111
  • Bern regional police: 031 634 4111
  • Basel regional police: 061 267 7111
  • Zurich regional police: 044 247 2211

The following tools from the Swiss government can also help you find police services in Switzerland:

Healthcare and accidents in Switzerland

If you need urgent medical help, call their emergency number (144) from any phone in Switzerland to speak with the emergency services. Visit your local hospital’s accident and emergency department (Notfalldienst in German, Urgences in French) or a specialist emergency clinic for more minor issues instead.

An ambulance at the main train station in Zurich, Switzerland

You can find details of the nearest out-of-hours doctor, dentist, or pharmacy by calling 111 or 144; you can also call 022 748 4950 for an emergency doctor. Each Swiss canton has an emergency pharmacy, as a matter of fact; further details for emergency pharmacies are available online. You can also find the address of your local first aid center.

For general medical issues in Switzerland, visit your own general practitioner (Doktor/Arzt/Médicin/Medico). Your doctor can offer you treatment or refer you to a specialist for further treatment. Learn even more about finding and registering with a Swiss doctor for more details.

Some other important healthcare phone numbers are the following:

  • Poison emergencies: 145
  • Vaccinations and advice for travelers: 0900 57 51 31 (Swiss travel clinic)
  • Rega Helicopter Rescue (Rettung mit Helikopter/Hélicoptèrs de sauvetage): 1414
  • Mountain Rescue (Air-Glaciers): 1415

Learn even more about the Swiss health service in our guide to healthcare in Switzerland.

Mental health services in Switzerland

Switzerland has, in fact, one of the best mental healthcare systems in Europe, with good provisions in terms of specialists and facilities. The first port of call for mental health issues is your doctor, who can prescribe any necessary medication or arrange further specialist treatment.

Mental healthcare services are available from specialist medical centers and clinics as well as from within hospitals. Some services (such as day treatment and visits from specialists) are included with basic health insurance. In addition, a range of private services are available.

  • Samaritans/Helping Hand (La main tendue/Die dargebotene Hand/Telefono amico): call 143 to speak to someone anonymously or you can also visit the 143 website.

Drug and alcohol services in Switzerland

  • Narcotics Anonymous (Narcotiques Anonymes): meetings are regularly available throughout Switzerland, although not all of the groups hold meetings in English. Call 0840 12 12 12.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: find local English-speaking meetings.
  • Red Cross Geneva: call 022 304 04 04 (French only).

Children, family, and youth services in Switzerland

  • Telephone support for children and teenagers (Ligne d’aide aux enfants et aux jeunes/Telefonhilfe für Kinder und Jugendliche/Linea per bambini e giovani): 147
  • Youth counselling services: find more information on their website.
  • File a missing persons report: follow the steps from the Swiss Federal Police
  • Missing Children Switzerland: free emergency number for reporting missing children in French, German, Italian, as well as in English. Call 116.
  • Child abduction alerts: receive reports of missing children from the police.
  • Education hotline for those struggling with illiteracy: 0800 47 47 47

Utility and telecommunications services in Switzerland

For gas, water, and electricity emergencies in Switzerland, contact the local utility supplier in your canton.

  • Electricity suppliers: SIG (Geneva), EWZ (Zurich), WWZ (Zug)
  • Report a telephone fault (Enregistrements des dérangements/Störungsannahme/Accettazione guasti): call 175 or consult with Swisscom instead.

Road and traffic emergencies in Switzerland

Although driving in Switzerland is generally quite safe due to high-quality infrastructure and well-trained drivers, sometimes things can go awry on the high alpine roads.

Maloja Pass at night
Despite the great roads, driving along roads like the Maloja Pass at night can be risky if you’re unaccustomed to high alpine roads
  • Road emergency and breakdown service: 140
  • Traffic information and road conditions: 163
  • Car breakdown service (Touring Club of Switzerland): 140
  • Transport Police (SBB): 0800 117 117

Find out even more in our guide to driving in Switzerland.

LGBTQ+ services in Switzerland

  • LGBT+ Helpline: free 24-hour helpline offering support for victims of homophobic or transphobic violence. Call 0800 133 133.
  • International Lesbian and Gay Association: find out even more about the Swiss branch online.
  • Pink Cross: umbrella group for gay and lesbian associations in Switzerland. Call 031 372 33 00.
  • LOS (Lesbenorganisation Schweiz): organization for lesbians in Switzerland.

Homelessness services in Switzerland

  • Swiss Solidarity: appeal raising money for homeless people in Switzerland.
  • Salvation Army: charity offering accommodation and night shelters for homeless people.

Animal services in Switzerland

Embassies and services for foreign nationals in Switzerland

The Swiss government has a special helpline at 0800 247 365 or 584 653 333 for advice on consular services. You can also reach them at +41 800 247 365 when you are calling from abroad. For a comprehensive list of embassies and consulates in Switzerland, visit EmbassyPages.

The US Embassy in Bern, Switzerland

A few of the most relevant embassies for tourists and foreign residents of Switzerland include:

  • Germany: The Embassy of Germany in Bern is located at Willadingweg 83. Their phone numbers are +41 31 359 41 11 and +41 31 359 42 26. Germany also has Consulates in Basel, Geneva, Lugano, and Zurich.
  • Italy: The Embassy of Italy in Bern is located at Elfenstrasse 14. Their phone number is +41 31 350 07 77. Italy also maintains Consulates in Basel, Geneva, Lugano, and Zurich.
  • Portugal: The Embassy of Portugal in Bern is located at Weltpoststrasse 20. Their phone numbers are +41 31 351 17 73 and +41 31 351 17 74. Portugal also has Consulates in Geneva, Lugano, Sion, and Zurich.
  • United Kingdom: The British Embassy in Bern is located at Thunstrasse 50. Their phone number is +41 31 359 77 00.
  • United States: The Embassy of the United States in Bern is located at Sulgeneckstrasse 19. Their phone number is +41 31 357 70 11. The United States also maintains a Consulate in Zurich.

Lost or stolen property in Switzerland

  • Lost or stolen property, documents, or passports: if you lose an item in a public place, make a report with the police or contact the lost property office in your local area; in fact, the Swiss government provides a brief guide for searching for the item and registering it with your municipality online. If you lose an item on public transport, contact the transport company directly or go via the SBB lost property office. You may need to pay a 10% reward to the person that returns the item, however. If you lose an item registered with the Easy Find lost property office, they get in touch with you automatically if someone hands in the lost item.
  • Lost and found pets: if you lose or find a pet, follow the government’s online guidance.
  • Lost bank cards: contact your bank or call the card provider: American Express (044 659 6903), Mastercard (0800 897 092), or Visa (0800 894 732).

European-wide emergency numbers

If you have an emergency anywhere else in Europe, you can call 112 to access emergency services. Calls to 112 are free and can also be made from any landline, payphone, or mobile phone.

What to do in an emergency in Switzerland

When you call an emergency number in Switzerland, follow these tips:

  • State your name, telephone number, the location where help is necessary, the situation and if it’s still ongoing, how many people require help, and whether there are weapons or dangerous substances involved.
  • Don’t forget the code to your parking lot or apartment building.
  • Never hang up until you are invited to do so.
  • If you have ongoing medical problems or regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you at least know how to say their names in French or German to the operator.
  • If you have children, mention their ages and how much they weigh (in kilograms) in case you need to call an anti-poison center or to administer medication.
  • In a situation where you’re dealing with intoxications, make sure to inform them of what was taken and also, if possible, give them the rest of what was consumed.

Other useful phone numbers in Switzerland

  • Swiss air rescue: contact Rega at 1414 or the Swiss air ambulance at +41 58 654 3980.
  • Avalanche and weather report: 187
  • Weather forecast: 162
  • Glacier emergencies: call 1415 or visit Air Glaciers.

General phone numbers

  • Talking clock (Horloge parlante/Sprechende Uhr/Ora esatta): 161
  • Weather report (Prévisions météorologiques/Wetterprognosen/Previsioni del tempo): 162
  • Road report (Etat des routes, informations sur la circulation routière/Strassenzustand, Verkehrsinformationen/Stato della strada, informazioni sul traffico): 163
  • Sports and lottery results (Résultats sportifs, chiffres gagnants, répartition des gains/Sportresultate, Gewinnzahlen und-quoten/Risultati sportivi, numeri vincenti, quote vincenti): 164

Inquiries and operators

  • Inquiries about Switzerland: 1811
  • International operator (Internationale Vermittlung/Commutation internationale/Commutazione internazionale): 1141
  • National operator for cellular phones: 1144
  • Austrian inquiries: 1151
  • German inquiries: 1152
  • French inquiries: 1153
  • Italian inquiries: 1154
  • International inquiries for other countries: 1159

Emergency terms and phrases in Switzerland

Help!Au secours!
A l’aide!
Help meAidez moiHilfe michAiutami
I can’t breatheJe ne peux pas respirerIch kann nicht atmenNon riesco a respirare
(Severely) allergic(Sévèrement) allergique(Stark) Allergisch(Gravemente) allergico
DoctorDocteurArztDottore / Medico
Dottoressa / Medica
Extremely illTrès maladeSchrecklich krankEstremamente malato
Call 911/999Appelez le un un deuxRufe eins eins zweiChiama il uno uno due
I need a doctorIl me faut un docteurIch brauche einen Arzt (oder Arztin)Ho bisogno di un dottore / dottoressa
I need an ambulanceJ’ai besoin d’une ambulanceIch brauche einer AmbulanzHo bisogno di un’ambulanza
I need the policeJ’ai besoin de la policeIch brauche der PolizeiHo bisogno dei carabiniere
I want a lawyerJe veux un avocatIch will einen AnwaltVoglio un avvocato (donna)
I’m innocentJe suis innocentIch bin unschuldigSono innocente
I didn’t do itJe n’ai pas fait çaIch habe das nicht getanNon l’ho fatto