Three-digit number that could save your life

Two French fire engines - one with ladder extended - answering an emergency call
You can call 112 from anywhere in Europe and you will be connected to the local emergency services

Only four out of 10 people in France know the phone number that will allow them to call emergency services from anywhere in Europe

Six out of 10 people across in France still do not know that a single phone number will allow them to call emergency services, according to official figures.

Since 1991, anyone who has needed the help of the emergency services in Europe has been able to dial the number 112, regardless of which country they are in.

In France, awareness of the pan-European emergency number stands at 40%, the European Commission says - but the number of people who know about the existence of the number is stagnating and even declining in some member states.

Sunday, February 11, was European 112 Day, intended to raise awareness of the number, which operates across all 28 states in the EU in conjunction with locally recognised numbers, such as 999 in the UK, or 15, 17 and 18 in France.

The 112 Emergency Service number was developed in response to the increasing number of people traveling from one country to another for leisure or work, and is available free of charge 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The emergency number 112 is recognised in more than 80 countries across the world, including the 28 EU states, as well as Norway, Iceland, Israel, Switzerland and the United States on certain networks, and India.

Unlike France, some nations have adopted it as their only emergency number. Here, however, callers can be diverted to the pompiers or Samu based on which department the call is made.

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