Home F.A.Q.Advice and Tips If I have an emergency, do I call 112, 091 or 061?

If I have an emergency, do I call 112, 091 or 061?

by Mark Nolan
7 minutes read

When we have an emergency, reaction time is key, and when it comes to summoning help, knowing who to call is crucial, but it is also important that our message gets across to those who can send help.

But what number should we call? It depends on the situation we find ourselves in, and if we are able to speak Spanish, but when in doubt, always choose 112.

It is also of huge importance that you try to identify your exact location so that help can be sent to you quickly. Remember, when you call for help, you are speaking with a trained professional, but they are located in a call centre, and might not necessarily know things like, “just down the road from the petrol station”, for example. Look for street names and house numbers, large commercial or business centres that have a name. On the roads, look for marker posts that indicate locations. If you have time, you can look at a mapping app on your mobile phone and get precise information.

For those from the UK, there was a story circulating, which sometimes reappears, saying that dialling 999 will summon emergency help. It will NOT. The emergency number across Europe, therefore including Spain, is 112.


112: available every day of the year, 24 hours a day

112 is the quintessential emergency number. Calling is completely free, both from a mobile and from a landline, and is available 365 days a year and 24-hours a day. The operators speak numerous languages, including English. This number is intended for emergencies, specifically those that are life threatening. if we suffer or witness an incident, in the event of a fire, if we suffer an attack or robbery or if we need health care, the operators will offer us a solution.

The 112 emergency number also has facilities that other telephones do not have: even if we do not have coverage, our mobile will connect to any operator in our location in order to make the call, so even if our telephone might say we have no service, dial 112 in an emergency and it will do everything it can to form a connection. It is even possible to make this call from a blocked mobile or in which the SIM card has been damaged or is not available.

In addition, this number has a considerable advantage: since 2008 it has been unified as an emergency care number in all member countries of the European Union, so even if an emergency arises in a foreign country, we can also use it.


061: Health emergencies

The 061 number is designed to summon help for medical emergencies. This service differs in locations around the country and may not be free for the user. It is not included in the flat rates offered by mobile phone operators in Spain, so the cost of this call will depend on the company operating the contracted service. Similarly, these operators may not speak English. Again, that is a situation which may differ around the country.

This telephone number is intended exclusively for the emergency service and health emergencies, so, although it is also available 24 hours a day, we should only use it whenever we experience a situation of this type. If we need an emergency ambulance, to attend to us or a third person on the street, or if a woman goes into labour unexpectedly, for example, 061 is a good option that will also resolve our doubts when it comes to how to act before the ambulance arrives, as these operators are trained specifically for medical emergencies.


091: Police

091 is the citizen service number of the National Police. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although, as with 061, the price of the call will depend on the conditions imposed by our telephone operator.

This number connects you to the Police directly, so it can be very useful in situations in which any type of crime may have been committed, or is taking place at the time.

The versatility of this service lies in the fact that it is both an action service in case of emergencies and the agents can send us a patrol to resolve, for example, a violent situation or in case we want to file a complaint; but it is also an information service, in which the Police will answer questions or tell us how we should act in complicated cases such as a suicide attempt or gender violence.

In addition to 091, there are other more specific police assistance numbers that can be more useful depending on where we are. Among them we can find 092, which we will use if we want to contact the local police of our municipality, or 062, available to contact the Guardia Civil, which for example is in charge of ensuring security in rural areas or in the roads.

Again though, the operators may not speak English, and so if your need is urgent of life threatening, call 112.


016: Care for victims of gender violence

Although it is not an emergency number as such, this state service is free and leaves no trace on the bill. Through it, victims of gender violence can access information, legal advice or immediate psychosocial care through specialised personnel.

Conversations with this number are always confidential, accessible to people with hearing or vision disabilities and it is available in up to 53 languages, so it is the best option if our emergency is related to a case of gender violence or that we believe may qualify as such.

There is also a WhatsApp number, 600 000 016, and a website offering more information about gender violence and your options. If you need to look at the website, you can do so safely, as there is an immediate escape button at the top right which will take you away from the page instantly, if you feel you might need to immediately hide your enquiries.


024: Hotline for suicidal behaviour

Since 2022, the Ministry of Health has promoted the creation of this new hotline, which is free, confidential and is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its recipients are both people with suicidal behaviour or ideation, as well as their relatives. Although the operators may not speak other languages, there is a translation facility built in, so it is accessible to al.



There is another option for summoning emergency assistance through your mobile phone, through the app, Alertcops.

It is available on both Android and iOS, and you install it onto your phone, register your personal details, and then hopefully never have the cause to use it, but if you do, there is a facility to call for immediate help, and also add supplementary information such as photographs.

You can find more information about Alertcops, with direct links to the relevant app stores, from the official page by the Spanish Government. This app is also available in English.


There are a few more numbers you might want to add to your phone book, which you can find on the Emergency Numbers button on the top menu of the n332.es website, but remember, even with all of this information, if you need help in an emergency, call 112.

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