114 emergency number helps if you cannot communicate easily in France

The service is available via app, text, and online - but few people know about it

A split image of the 112 and 18 numbers, and the 114 app symbol
You know about the emergency numbers 112 and 18 in France, but what about 114?
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Did you know that France has a separate emergency phone number for people who cannot hear, have hearing difficulties, or other communication struggles?

The number 114 is available via text and app, and is also online at info.urgence114.fr. Users can ask health questions or request the emergency services in the same way as hearing people would when using speaking emergency numbers, such as 15, 17, 18, or the European-wide phone number 112.

Read more: What numbers should I dial in an emergency in France?

It is free to use and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used to contact the SAMU, pompiers (fire and rescue service), police, and gendarmerie. Currently, it is used on average 80 times a day.

However, a new poll* has found that just 20% of people in France know of the 114 service, despite it having been launched 12 years ago by the Ministries of Health and the Interior, and piloted by the CHU Alpes-Grenoble.

As a result, the Centre national relais (CNR) 114, has now launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the number, especially among populations that may find it useful.

Image: Urgence 114

Service effective

Up to seven million people in France are affected by a condition that may mean using 114 would be easier for them than calling a typical emergency number.

This includes people who are hard of hearing, deaf, deafblind, or who have aphasia (a language disorder that causes difficulty with communication or understanding language, sometimes experienced by people after a stroke).

And the service appears to be effective; the same poll* found that of the 6% of French people who said they had used 114, 77% were satisfied, 74% said they had confidence in the people they spoke to, and 70% found it easy to make themselves understood.

“114 is the emergency number for anyone who has difficulty hearing or speaking, even temporarily,” said Camille Page, the deputy director of centres at the CHU Alpes-Grenoble.

“This means that everyone can access emergency services. But 114 also concerns the people around them: carers, family and friends, doctors, pharmacists, paramedical practitioners, adapted schools and associations, sign language interpreters, as well as local public services.”

How to access 114

The 114 service can be accessed via:

  • SMS (text)
  • On its website, in French and in French sign language

The head of the CNR 114 service, Dr Véronique Équy, has recommended that people download it onto their mobile, even if they do not plan to use it, or think they are unlikely to do so.

“We recommend that users of 114 download the application onto their mobile and complete their profile on the application. This will save them precious time in the event of an emergency,” she said.

The app can also be used by speaking or hearing people who are unable to hear or speak temporarily, for whatever reason - whether due to a health condition, or safety concerns.

*Poll by Viavoice, representative of the French population aged 18 or over, done between December 4-8 2023.

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