Which number should you call in case of an emergency in Germany? Make note of these important emergency numbers Germany, alongside useful German helplines for non-urgent emergencies.
Encountering any emergency is scary but can become much more daunting if it happens abroad where you might not be familiar with the local language or protocols. Although Germany is one of the safest countries in the European Union, it’s important to make sure you and your family are prepared for any potential emergency, accident or crime in Germany.
Keep a handy and easily accessible list of emergency numbers (Notrufnummern) in Germany. Here is a list of emergency services in Germany from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (Bundesamtes für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe, BBK).
Emergency German phrases
While most German emergency services staff speak English, there are others – especially in more rural areas – who don’t. Members of the family should practise how to give clear indications in German of your name, address and telephone number to be better prepared for any eventuality. If you do not speak German, however, it is best to find a German-speaker whom you can trust.
German emergency phrases:
- Police: Polizei
- Fire service: Feuerwehr
- Rescue service: Rettungsdienst
- Ambulance: Rettungswagen or Krankenwagen
- Pharmacy: Apotheke
- Hospital: Das Krankenhaus
- Medicine: Medizin
- Poisoning emergency: Vergiftungen Notfall
- Help!: Hilfe!
- Call an ambulance!: Rufen Sie einen Krankenwagen!
- It’s an emergency: Es ist ein Notfall/dringend.
- My name is / I live at / My telephone number is: Ich heiße…/ Ich lebe in…/ Meine telefonnummer ist…
- I’m feeling sick: Mir ist schlecht.
- I’m in pain: Ich habe Schmerzen.
- I need a doctor: Ich brauche einen Arzt.
- I need a hospital: Ich brauche ein Krankenhaus.
- There’s been an accident: Es gab einen Unfall.
- He/she is having a…: Er/sie ist mit einem…
- Heart attack: Herzinfarkt
- Stroke: Schlaganfall
- Choking: Würgend
- Difficulty breathing: Schwierigkeiten beim Atmen
- Bleeding: Blutung
- Concussion: Gehirnerschütterung
- Diabetic: Diabetiker
- In labour: Gebären
Important tips when calling German emergency services
- State your name, telephone number, location where help is needed, the situation and if it’s still happening, 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 known medical problems or regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you know how to say their names in German to the operator.
- If you have children, be prepared to cite their ages and how much they weigh (in kilograms) in case you need to call an anti-poison centre or to administer medication.
- If dealing with intoxications, make sure to inform them of what was taken and if possible, give them the rest of what was consumed.
National emergency services in Germany
Germany has three primary emergency responders namely: the Emergency Medical Service (Rettungsdienst), fire service (Feuerwehr) and the police (Polizei). Emergency services are handled by the 16 German states, who assign a range of state emergency medical and rescue organisations and various private companies to act as first responders. The Rettungsdienst in Germany is also closely associated with the fire brigade with some even providing the service through certain departments.
The Landespolizei or State Police is typically tasked with emergency response and are sometimes aided by the Bundespolizei (BPOL), Germany’s Federal Police, when dealing with major disturbances or other emergencies that are out of their scope.
For urgent medical treatment, you can also immediately go to any hospital’s emergency room or accident and emergency department (A&E), which are called Notaufnahme.
Pan-European emergency number (EMS and fire brigade): 112
Calls to 112 are free of charge and can be made from a landline, pay phone or mobile phone, even without a SIM card. Dialling the number will direct you to an operator who will notify the appropriate service, tyically the local Rettungsdienst or Feuerwehr. It can be used for any life-threatening situation, including serious medical problems, fire-related incidents, crimes and life-threatening situations. You can also call an ambulance or Krankenwagen through this number. In addition to German, calls can be answered in English, other EU languages and sometimes Turkish.
German police can usually be identified by their predominantly green and beige uniforms, and green and white automobiles. Most German police personnel speak English and are easy to find in busy areas like airports and train stations. The number 110 can be used to contact the police throughout Germany and will direct you to the closest police station.
Non-emergency medical (doctor on call): 116 117
Air rescue: (0711) 70 10 70
Nurse advice line: 00800 4759 2330
Toxic substance emergency (Federal Institute of Risk Assessment or BfR): 192 40
When dialling for a drug or poison emergency, most areas do not require a prefix but see the numbers below for the areas that might ask for one:
- Baden-Württemberg: 0761
- Bavaria: 089
- Berlin, Brandenburg: 030
- Bremen, Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Niedersachsen: 0551
- Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz: 06131
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen Anhalt, Thüringen: 0361
- Nordrhein-Westfalen: 0228
- Saarland: 06841
National telephone number enquiry: 118 33 (fee required)
International telephone number enquiry: 118 34 (fee required)
Lost property (Fundbüro): 69 95
Lost property (railways): (01805) 99 05 99
Helplines in Germany
- Suicide hotline: 0800 111 01 11
- Kids and youth hotline: 0800 111 03 33
- Parental hotline: 0800 111 05 50
- Alcoholics Anonymous: 19 295
- AIDS hotline: 0180 331 94 11
Lost or stolen credit cards
- American Express: (069) 97 97 10 00
- Diner’s Club: (05921) 86 12 34
- EC and Bank Cards: (069) 74 09 87
- MasterCard: (069) 79 33 19 10
- VISA: (0800) 81 49 100
Emergencies on the road
During emergencies or accidents on major roads, such as the Autobahn, you can put on your emergency lights (triangle symbol) and park on either side of the roadway or in one of the parking stops. Make sure to set up your warning triangle on the road. You should only stop in an urgent situation; it’s illegal to stop in the German Autobahn unless it’s a ‘real’ emergency.
If you don’t have a cellphone at hand, you can use the designated orange emergency phones on the side of the highway. If there is no phone in site, look at the white kilometre stones or posts at the roadside and search for black arrows pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.