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1-1-2 (one-one-two) is the emergency telephone number for GSM and Europe.

In 1991, the European Union established 1-1-2 as the universal emergency number for all its member states. In all EU countries, except for Bulgaria,[1] 1-1-2 is already implemented and can be called free of charge from any telephone or any mobile phone. The GSM mobile phone standard designates 1-1-2 as an emergency number, so it will work on such systems even in North America where it redirects to 9-1-1.

The number is now regulated across the EU by the Universal Service Directive[2].


Before 112 became a European and (via GSM) worldwide standard emergency number, it had already served for many decades as the fire brigade emergency number in Germany and Denmark.

This choice of number has the following advantages:

  • A short number is easiest to remember, but since telephone numbers are a prefix-free code, a too short one would waste a large fraction of the number space. A 3-digit number wastes only 0.1% of the number space, which is justifiable for an emergency number.
  • Using at least two different digits significantly reduces the risk of accidental calls from numeric keypads. Vibrations, defect keys and collisions with other objects are much more likely to press the same key repeatedly rather than pressing a sequence of different keys. Accidental calls to emergency centers from mobile phones are a particular problem with same-digit numbers, such as the UK's 9-9-9[3].
  • In the days of rotary dial telephones, using only those digits that require the least motion of a rotary dial (1 and 2) permitted a dial lock[4] in hole 3 to effectively disable unauthorized access to the telephone network without preventing access to the emergency number 112. The same choice also maximized dialing speed.


Countries which use the 112 number for emergencies include:


E112 is a location-enhanced version of 112. The telecom operator transmits the location information to the emergency centre.

See also


  1. 112-The Single European Emergency number
  2. Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services. Article 26: Single European emergency call number. Official Journal of the European Union, L 108, 24/04/2002, p. 51
  3. Mobiles blamed for emergency calls, BBC News, 2000-03-21.
  4. Such locks were commonly used, e.g. "ABUS Telefonschloß T70 für Wählscheiben" in Germany.

External links


cs:Evropská bezpečnostní linka de:Euronotruf nl:Alarmnummer#Alarmnummer_Europa.3A_112 simple:1-1-2 sv:112 (telefonnummer)