A Quick Guide to 112: the emergency telephone number in Spain

emergency phone number in Spain

In a formal description we could say that “112 is a free emergency telephone number in Spain which offers a 24/7 emergency service to any person located within the country of Spain, regardless of their nationality and legal status”.

In my own words: “112 is the phone number you must use in case of any emergency in Spain”.



The type of emergency could be (but not limited to) any of the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Fire
  • Health assistance
  • Physical aggressions
  • Theft
  • Rescue
  • Natural disasters
  • Life risking situations or scenarios

When calling 112, the operator on the phone decides what professional services must get involved:


How does it work?

Very simple: dial 112. That’s it.

Don’t doubt yourself for a second: call 112 for whatever type of emergency.

The operators can speak English as well as Spanish, so if can’t speak Spanish but you have at least a basic level of the English language despite it not being your first language: call 112.

Even though the service is offered nationwide, the offices are managed locally by each Spanish region.

Let me give you an example.

I’m based in Torrevieja, Alicante. If I rang 112 it would go straight through to the Comunidad Valenciana regional office.

However, if I called 112 being in the Murcia area, the phone call would be received by the Región de Murcia office.

What matters here is that you receive assistance. Whether the office belongs to such and such region is irrelevant.

Just dial 112 if you need help and they’ll give you further instructions.


Emergency phone number in Spain and Europe

Although other EU countries seems to have their own national emergency number (999 in the United Kingdom, for instance), 112 can be used all over the European Union.

According to the European Commission Website, only “51% of EU citizens know that 112 is the number to be used across the EU”.

I don’t want you to be part of that 49% while you live or come to visit Spain.


Correct usage

112 is not a general information phone number.

Don’t call 112 to ask about Spanish residency.

Don’t call 112 to ask about driving licences.

Don’t call 112 either to know what the weather is going to be like or for general traffic enquiries.

Wrong or even malicious phone calls do nothing more than obstruct real emergencies.

Please, take this phone number very seriously.


Final thoughts

I’ve rang 112 around 10 times in my whole life and I can tell you they’ve always answered quickly and have been very efficient, at least when I was present, which was not the case in the first two examples I’m about to give you next.

I recall that one day back in 2011, at the early days of Torrevieja Translation. I was driving on the Cartagena-Murcia motorway and had to dodge a piece of carpet rolled up across the road.

That’s 112.

Sometime later there was somebody driving at night on the motorway with no lights.

That’s 112.

And whilst living with my parents, one night I looked through the window and saw some smoke coming up from the rubbish bin (in a few minutes it was completely on fire but the firefighters extinguished it fast enough).

That’s 112.

Whenever the situation poses a risk to any human being or even animals:

That’s 112.



  1. says

    Thank you David, very informative and yes there are those who would ponder if to call 112.

    • David Ruiz says

      I speak with lots of expats every week and it’s amazing how many people still don’t know about 112.

      That’s why I decided to write on this subject :-)

      Thanks for reading the article James.


  2. Sandra Groves says

    Useful information – thank you David ……….

    • David Ruiz says

      Many thanks Sandra. I will be very happy if at least one person (after having read my article) uses 112 for any case of emergency.


  3. Pauline says

    Very helpful information. Also on your website I found renewing/reapplying for NIE Form very helpful. Thanks for all the advice you give.

    • David Ruiz says

      Thanks a lot Pauline, I really appreciate the feedback :-)

      Best wishes

  4. Lubna says

    I have moved into an apartment in Alicante, and for the last few days there has been a dog whining on one of the top floors, and it is also starting to think around.

    What can I do? I don’t want to call an emergency number, in case it’s not an emergency.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Lubna,

      It might not be an emergency but it does not seem to be a normal situation either.

      My recommendation is that you always call 112, even if you don’t think it is an emergency. Better to be safe than sorry :-)

      I hope this helps.

  5. Elina says

    Hi David,

    I’m trying to include 112 in a script I’m writing. So how does it work, you call 112 and someone answers and say for example you don’t speak spanish what happens? Does whoever is on the phone speak basic english or do they put you on hold to transfer you or how does it work?


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Elina,

      They will answer in Spanish but if you speak English either the operator or somebody working there should continue the assistance in English.

      I hope this helps.