How to call emergency numbers?

When you need to call an emergency number, you are often in a stressful situation. Yet, it is important that you can provide the operator with precise and correct information and that you can answer his questions. 

Try, before you call, to find out the following:
the exact location, the type of emergency and if there are wounded persons.

Follow these steps.

  • 1 Dial 112 for the fire brigade, an ambulance or the police. When in Belgium, dial 101 for urgent police assistance.

  • 2 Listen to the message and make a choice :
    "Emergency call centre. 
     For an ambulance or the fire brigade, press 1. 
     For the police, press 2.

  • 3 If you don't make a choice, the message is repeated once more, then you will automatically be transferred to the territorially competent emergency call centre.

  • 4 Wait patiently for an answer. Do not hang up, because then you will find yourself at the bottom of the waiting list again.

  • 5 Provide the correct address to which the emergency services need to go (city, street, number, intersection, special access, emergency telephone, etc.) and if possible the easiest way to get there. If you don’t call from the place of the incident, tell this to the operator.

  • 6 Describe what happened (fire, accident, aggression, burglary, heart attack, etc.).

  • 7 Indicate whether people are in danger or wounded and how many.

  • 8 Don’t hang up before the operator says you can. Keep the telephone line free so that the operator can call you back if he needs more information.

  • 9 If the situation were to get worse or to improve, call the emergency call centre back to report it.


In case of big disasters several people call the emergency centres. In that case an operator will only ask you for additional useful information. If you don’t have more information, you can hang up when the operator says you can do so. This way the telephone lines are faster free to take other emergency calls.

When you called an emergency number by accident, then don’t hang up, but tell the operator that everything is fine. This way the operator is sure that there is no emergency.