Dialing 911 to report an emergency in a foreign country may only make the situation direr because that's not an emergency number in most places. Every country has its own numbers to dial when something terrible happens, and it's best you learn them before hitting the road.
Here are the emergency numbers in ten popular countries. Safe travels!
The most important Italian emergency number exists throughout the European Union: 112. That is the EU's 911, the international emergency number you can use anywhere.
Otherwise, you can dial 113 for more local police help, 115 for the fire department, and 118 for medical emergencies. Italy has a couple of other numbers as well. If you're driving around and get stuck, call the ACI (the Italian Automobile Club) at 116. The ACI is their AAA, and they'll get you road tripping again in no time.
Finally, if you notice a forest fire, don't call the regular fire department. Dial 1515 to reach people trained and ready to handle Smokey the Bear's worst nightmare.
France has numbers a-plenty to handle almost any emergency. Along with the international 112, you can dial 17 for local police, and 114 for emergency services if you're hearing impaired.
If there's a fire you dial 18, and for medical emergencies, you dial 15. Should you require emergency shelter for any reason, 115 is your number.
Two numbers exist to help children: dial 119 for Child Protection, and 116 000 to report a missing child.
France even has numbers for water-related issues. If there's a sea emergency and you're calling from land, dial 196. If you're at sea and in trouble, you will dial 1616
The beautiful country of Japan keeps its emergency-number system pretty simple. You only need to know a few, but they're all incredibly important.
If you need the police, then dial 110. Otherwise, 119 is your go-to emergency number. Doing so will connect you to fire, ambulance, and health emergency rescue teams. It's 911 backwards, so it couldn't be easier to remember.
There's one other critical number to note: dial 118 for the Coast Guard. Japan is, after all, a small island nation, meaning water issues are a real concern. Should one arise, the Coast Guard is just one call away.
If you're traveling around China and need the cops, you'll need to dial 110. If for whatever reason you can't call them, but can only text, do so at 12110.
Otherwise, you can call for an ambulance or other medical help at 120, request fire assistance via 119, and report a traffic accident by dialing 122.
If you're in the water and need emergency assistance, dial 12395 to reach the Maritime Search and Rescue Center. Oceans may not surround China, but it contains enough bodies of water that aquatic emergencies are an unfortunate reality.
England, like the US, keeps their emergency system uniform. For virtually any emergency, you can dial the European 112 or the UK-centric 999.
The latter is the first-ever automatic emergency number in the world, instituted in 1936 after five women died in a humongous fire the year before. Almost 85 years later, it's still the go-to emergency number in the country. It's one of the simplest too: press a single number three times, and that's it!
Just don't dial 99999 as The Clash advised. Why do unnecessary work, especially when time is of the essence?
Germany has a few important numbers to memorize, and the two most important are quick and easy. Dial 110 for the police and 112 for fire and ambulance emergencies.
Outside of that, if you need air rescue, the number is a tad more complicated — dial 0711-701-070 for air rescue.
Also, if you're in danger of hurting yourself, Germany's suicide hotline is 0800-111-0111.
If you're traveling to Mexico, you don't need to remember much new. They use 911 just as the US does, so if you've got an emergency, call 911 and Mexico will take care of you.
That said, they do have another number for tourist help. Dialing 078 will connect you to the Ángeles Verdes, or "Green Angels." They offer roadside assistance along with general information for outsiders. Best of all, many of their operators speak English, because when you need help now, you need perfect communication now.
Australia, like England, keeps it simple. If you have any emergency, then dial 000. There's no need to memorize anything: just hit Triple Zero, and you're connected.
That said, the Land Down Under does offer two other emergency numbers. Like in the EU, you can dial 112, though only from GSM phones. (GSM stands for Global Service Mobile and is pretty much the universal type of phone outside the US. Inside the US, only some carriers use GSM.)
Also, if you are hearing or speech impaired, you can dial 106, which connects you to Australia's text-based emergency service.
Despite not being in the EU, Turkey uses 112 as one of its main emergency numbers.
However, in Turkey, that's only the number to use for medical emergencies. If you need the police, you'll need to dial 155. For fire emergencies, call for help via 110. And if there's a traffic accident or some other roadside emergency, dial 154.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most advanced countries on Earth, and thus one of the top tourist destinations of our time.
To keep things easy for all its tourists, the UAE has few emergency numbers, and they're all both similar and easy to remember. Like in England, dialing 999 will connect you to the police during an emergency. Meanwhile, if you need an ambulance, you will dial 998. For the fire department, dial 997.
So to remember emergency numbers in the UAE, follow this simple rhyme: "dial 9-9, then go down the line."