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Using emergency services in Italy: Who to call and what to say


Just in case you have an emergency in Italy, here are the numbers to call and some of the phrases you might need to say.

You can report anything on 112, the single European emergency number, whose operators will direct you to the relevant services.

But knowing the direct number to call could get you a faster response in a situation where time is critical.

Here are the main phone numbers you’ll need to report an emergency in Italy.

What is Italy’s equivalent of 999 or 911?

Within Italy, the general number for all emergencies – the equivalent of 999 in the UK or 911 in the US – is 113.

This nationwide number connects you to the state police (Polizia di Stato), the civil police force that will assist you not only if you’re reporting a crime but for any other kind of emergency too.

They’ll probably ask you the following questions:

What is your emergency? – Qual è la sua emergenza?
What happened? – Cosa è successo?
Can you give me the address/the coordinates? – Può darmi l’indirizzo/le coordinate?

Useful phrases

Help! – Aiuto!

Call the police – Chiami la polizia

Is there anyone here who speaks English? – C’è qualcuno qui che parla inglese?

There has been an accident – C’è stato un incidente

Someone has stolen my bag/wallet/phone – Mi hanno rubato la borsa/il portafoglio/il telefono

Please hurry – Fate presto, per favore

Who should you call about a fire?

To reach the fire service (Vigili del Fuoco), dial 115.

Be aware that firefighters (pompieri) in Italy don’t just put out fires: they also lead searches, rescues and other first-response operations, so you can also call them to report anyone in need of immediate assistance – for instance, someone trapped in a flood or missing while hiking.

Useful phrases

Fire! – Al fuoco!

Call the fire brigade – Chiami i pompieri

There’s a fire – C’è un incendio

Who should you call for an ambulance?

To report a medical emergency (emergenza sanitaria), call 118.

They’ll ask you to describe the circumstances and, depending on the gravity of the situation, assign a colour code:

White (bianco): non-critical;
Green (verde): non-urgent;
Yellow (giallo): critical/urgent;
Red (rosso): emergency.
They’ll then dispatch the appropriate assistance to provide treatment at the scene and/or take you to the nearest hospital.

Useful phrases

Call an ambulance – Chiami un’ambulanza

I need a doctor – Ho bisogno di un dottore

Take me to the emergency room – Portatemi al pronto soccorso

Some people are badly injured – Ci sono feriti gravi

He/she hit his/her head – Ha battuto la testa

He/she is unconscious – Lui/lei è svenuto/a

He/she isn’t breathing – Non respira

An emergency at sea:

Italy’s coast guard (Guardia Costiera) can be reached at 1530.

The service handles search-and-rescue operations at sea, as well as assisting vessels in distress and protecting safety at ports and on beaches.

Source: thelocal it

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