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There are many questions we come across on a regular basis which have become embedded in popular culture, shared through social networks, like the bar and pub of old, and the internet sites of new, and have become firmly fixed in many a people’s mind. But that belief can also have potentially serious consequences, if the information is wrong.

Can I Dial 999 to summon the emergency services in Spain?

NO!

The European emergency number is 112. Please get that number firmly embedded in your mind, 112.

It is true that if you have a UK mobile phone, even without credit or contract, it can be used in an emergency, but if you’re in a European country (not the UK), the number which works is 112.

All mobile operators are committed to ensuring that emergency contact is available, irrespective of if you have credit. You may, on occasion, have seen your phone status saying something like, “Emergency Only”. If you try to phone your mum to ask her to warm your spaghetti hoops up because you’re “starving”, that’s not a real emergency and your phone won’t work if in emergency mode. But if you are in serious need of assistance, dialing 112 will put you through to the emergency operators, who do speak English in Spain by the way.

Similarly, many smartphones have a locked function to protect our data. That locked function can often be bypassed in an emergency, but only for summoning help.

If you are in Spain, or any other European country, the number to remember is 112. Repeat with us, “in an emergency, dial 112”, and forget what you may have heard about that other three digit number.

The 9th of September, is recognised as 999 day in the UK, which is why we thought it appropriate to mention.

Admittedly a poor relation in terms of the play on dates to the European equivalent, today is the day when the UK recognises the work of the emergency services, first responders and after carers.

The emergency service workers are often the hidden heroes, sometimes hated, sometimes mocked, but always, ALWAYS there when you need them, without fear or prejudice.

If you’re out and about today and see one not engaged in an emergency role (even in Spain), take a second and simply say, “thank you for your work”.

This isn’t Love Island, Strictly or X-Factor, this is real life where otherwise ordinary people don an invisible cape of commitment to protect each and every one of us at our worst possible moments.

We salute you all, on the 9th of September (told you it’s no 11th of February), our gratitude goes to the tireless workers who deal with every step of our journey from when we first call 999 (9/9 as opposed to 11/2, you see), to when we walk away at the end, often thankful to be alive, often thanking a mythical bearded man who lives in the sky, but often forgetting the person who picked up the phone, who sent help, that help when it arrived, the transport we needed, the teams who cares for us and those who brought us back from the brink of whatever emergency we faced.

Enjoy your day emergency workers, we salute you, we thank you. Happy 999 day.


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