Emergency services

Single Emergency Number 112  (dial from any telephone including mobile while roaming)
The Important numbers below are for the emergency services in France. You can call these numbers from a home french landline or public payphone.
For quick reference main numbers are listed followed with a fuller explanation and breakdown of the French emergency services and useful phrases in french to prepare for and use if you are involved in an emergency..

Direct Emergency (Toll Free)

15 – SAMU (Medical)
17 – Gendarmes (Police)
18 – Pompiers (Fire)
112 – Eur emergency (land line or Mobile)
114 – Eur emergency (hearing assistance)
113 – SOS Drugs / Alcohol Addiction
115 – Homeless
116 or 117 – Out of hours Doctors
119 – Child Abuse

In the event of a snake bite most pharmacies stock anti venom but you would be advised to try and take a picture of the offending species to show the Pharmacist.

Anti-poison Centres( Toll charged)

02 41 48 21 21 – Angers
05 56 96 40 80 – Bordeaux
04 76 76 56 46 – Grenoble
08 25 81 28 22 – Lille
04 72 11 69 11 – Lyon
04 91 75 25 25 – Marseille
03 83 32 36 36 – Nancy
03 26 06 07 08 – Reims
02 99 59 22 22 – Rennes
02 35 88 44 00 – Rouen
03 88 37 37 37 – Strasbourg
05 61 77 74 47 – Toulouse

Further information about 112 can be found on the official European Commission website.

What emergency numbers should you call in France?  For French emergency medical or crime-related numbers and non-medical helplines for lost property and general enquiries this page will prepare you for the worst should you encounter any pressing emergencies or require any help in France.
Too many expatriate families are caught unprepared to cope with an emergency in their new country. If you’re calling France your new home, make sure you and all your family members are prepared by using these tips. Keep a handy list of France’s important emergency numbers on this page for quick reference listed in a room with common line of sight with a mini synopsis breakdown of each service.

France has an infamously long list of emergency numbers for different services but the pan-European emergency number 112 can also be called for any type of emergency and after, an operator will direct you to the appropriate French department. It’s is advised to dial 112 when calling from mobile phones. However, it is not possible to call the number from a mobile without a sim card. Callers who don’t speak French would also have no problem communicating their issues due to the assistance of interpreters who speak 40 languages.

If you need to access French Healthcare Services or visit a French Hospital, you may be asked to present French Health Insurance or private health insurance. This guide for French emergency numbers explains French medical terms, what to do in an emergency in France, and what to do in an accident or health emergency in France.

Important tips when calling French emergency services…

Remember these tips when calling any emergency service hotline:

  • State your name, telephone number, location where help is needed, the situation and if it’s still happening, how many people require help and whether there are weapons or dangerous substances involved.
  • Don’t forget the code to your parking lot or apartment building if relevant or commune.
  • Never hang up until you are told to do so.
  • If you have a known medical problem or regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you know how to say their names in French to the operator.
  • If you have children, be prepared to state their ages and how much they weigh (in kilograms) in case you need to call an anti-poison centre or to administer medication.
  • If dealing with intoxications, make sure to inform them of what was taken and if possible, give them the rest of what was consumed.
  • Besides the numbers above, you can see which specialist numbers to call depending on the Emergency In France (in French)

Pan-European Emergency Number: 112 or 114 (for hearing assistance).
These general numbers can be called free of charge during any emergency from your mobile phone. As it’s a Europe-wide number, you can also ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing could send text messages to 114.

Ambulance and Emergency Services (SAMU): 15
The SAMU is the coordinated service to call in case of any serious medical emergency. A qualified doctor is always available to determine the type of response that best fits your situation, specifically, whether you need an ambulance. Otherwise, you’ll have to carry the cost of the ambulance transport as a tourist, however if you’re a permanent resident then you will need to use your private health insurance to help cover these costs.  Alternatively, you could request a light medical vehicle (véhicule sanitaire léger or VSL) to get to hospital.

Fire Brigade: 18
The French fire brigade, called les sapeurs pompiers, can also be called in cases of medical emergencies, such as traffic and domestic accidents. They work closely with the SAMU and employ professional, health, medical and volunteer brigades.

Police: 17
This number puts you in contact with the appropriate emergency police services nearest you, whether that is the Police Nationale or the Gendarmerie Nationale. For non-urgent situations, make a note of the direct phone number for your nearest police station (commissariat de police or gendarmerie).

National Emergency Services in France
There are three main emergency services in France: the SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence), the fire brigade and the police. The SAMU is the national, publicly run emergency service that deals only with very serious cases. The SAMU provides both ambulances and specialist medical teams.

It is important to note that the French Fire Brigade, les sapeurs pompiers, is also trained and equipped to deal with medical emergencies. They provide an ambulance service with their specially equipped vans. In France, it is very often the fire brigade who are called first to deal with road accidents and domestic accidents and in many areas, especially rural regions, they will be fastest to the scene. They coordinate with all other emergency services and will, if the situation demands, call in the specialised SAMU emergency medical service.

The national police force in France is divided between the Police Nationale and the Gendarmerie Nationale Note you will have to prove you are not a robot when you access this site. Very broadly, the Police Nationale is responsible for urban areas while the gendarmerie covers the rural regions. The Police Nationale is authorised to conduct criminal enquiries, perform security operations like traffic control and identity checks while the military gendarmerie also carries out criminal investigations and other security activities involving airports, military locations, coastal areas and the countryside. From wherever you call the emergency number for the police you will be directed to the appropriate service of the two.

It is advisable to also note down the normal, eight-digit number for your local police or Gendarmerie Station. Larger towns have an additional secondary police force called La Police Municipale, which is managed by the local town hall and have limited powers within the district. The local municipal police handle general law enforcement, minor traffic and domestic offences and lost property.

Due to recent terror related attacks in France, security services have adopted a more noticeable sensitivity to suspect activity,  so if you like to carry around a Walkie Talkie, as some of us do in rural locations, be ready to be challenged more often than not by police and shopping mall security staff who will at firstly challenge you for your ID.  It is always required to carry a form of identity card / passport with you at all times when you are away from home in France, especially when you drive, in case you are involved in an accident or any other mishap and you need to prove your identity.  Without it the police, after recent events can get suspicious and more readily think down the lines of illegal activity. In the case of a terror related attack please study this guide for emergency procedures here in France.

The French government has recently launched a free smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including all major natural, technological and terrorist-related risks. The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in both English and French and allows users to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas. SAIP can be downloaded in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

There is also a volunteer-run SOS Helpline in English for residents living in France and beyond, providing support to expats on a range of issues, from how to understand a tax form to finding an English-speaking doctor, to dealing with loneliness and isolation, commonly felt by expats, or suicidal thoughts and breakdowns.

As from 2017, two new numbers will be functional to help find out-of-hours doctors: 116 117.

Emergency Siren

Do not be alarmed when you hear a siren every first Wednesday of the month at noon. France’s sirens are tested nationwide with three consecutive blasts of almost two minutes, separated by five seconds of silence. In the event of an unplanned siren, you can find information on France Inter or France Info radion stations.

Emergency French Phrases

All members of the family should practice how to give clear indications in French of your name, address and telephone number — you may come across an operator who speaks English but there is no guarantee of this. If you do not speak French, it is best to find a French-speaker whom you can trust.

  • Allergy: – mon mari fait une réaction allergique grave (My Husband has a serious allergic reaction)
  • Ambulance: – une ambulance; J’ai besoin d’une ambulance. (I need an ambulance.)
  • Choke: – s’étouffer; Mon bébé s’étouffe. (My baby is choking.)
  • Concussion: – une commotion cérébrale; Mon enfant est tombé. A-t-il une commotion cérébrale? (My child fell. Does he have a concussion?)
  • Diabetic: – diabétique; Je suis diabétique. J’ai besoin d’insuline. (I need insulin).
  • Difficulty breathing/gasping: – haleter or difficulté à respirer; j’ai du mal à respirer. (I have difficulty breathing.)
  • Emergency numbers: – Numéros d’urgence
  • Emergency services/ambulance: – Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence or SAMU
  • Fire brigade: – Les sapeurs pompiers
  • Heart attack: – une crise cardiaque: Mon mari fait une crise cardiaque. (My husband had a heart attack.)
  • Help!: – Au secours!
  • Hemorrhage: – une hémorragie; Mon mari fait une hémorragie. (My husband had a hemorrhage.)
  • It’s an emergency: – C’est un cas d’urgence.
  • I live at…: – J’habite à…
  • My name is…: – Je m’apelle…
  • My telephone number is…: – Mon numéro de téléphone est…
  • Poisoning emergency: – Urgence d’empoisonnement
  • Police: – La Police Nationale or gendarmerie
  • Road emergency services: – Services d’urgence routière
  • Stroke: – une attaque cérébrale; Je pense que ma femme fait un AVC (accident vasculaire cérébral). (I think my wife suffered a stroke.)
  • To bleed: – saigner; Je saigne beaucoup. (I am bleeding a lot.)
  • To be poisoned: – s’empoisonner; mon enfant a avalé une substance toxique. (My child has been poisoned.)
  • Labour: – accouchement/accoucher; Ma femme accouche; la poche des eaux a percé. (My wife is giving birth. Her water has broken.)

Other emergency helplines (These 08 numbers are toll-free)

Emergency and Medical Response Numbers

08 00 84 08 00 – Hepatitis information helpline.
08 00 85 88 58 – Red Cross | Red Cross website
08 00 84 08 00 – AIDS helpline
08 10 81 08 21 – Cancer helpline
01 43 37 51 00 – Dental helpline
01 45 65 81 08 – Psychiatric emergency
08 20 33 24 24 – Medical advice line (SOS Médecins) | SOS Médecins website
196 – Maritime emergency (calling from land)
191 – Aeronautical emergency
VHF Channel 16 – Maritime emergency (not in land)
116 117 – Out-of-hours doctors
113 – SOS Drug/Alcohol Addiction
3237 – Find a duty pharmacy | RésoGardes website – Not all pharmacies in France are covered by the service yet.

Crime Related Response Numbers

08 00 05 95 95 – Rape hotline
08 10 09 86 09 – Victims of violent crime hotline
3919 – Domestic violence helpline
197 – Terror/kidnapping hotline
114 – hard of hearing
119 – SOS child abuse | Service National d’Accueil Téléphonique de l’Enfance en Danger (SNATED) website

Non-Medical Response Numbers

12 – Directory enquiries
3006 – Call collect
01 40 33 80 60 – Gas leak assistance
01 43 35 40 86 – Emergency electrical services
01 46 21 46 46 – SOS Help, an English-language helpline | SOS Help website – Available from 3 to 11pm daily all year long.
This is not a 24/7 emergency services number.
115 – SOS emergency housing for the homeless | Samusocial website  (Paris based website but great for advise)
39 39 – Public services hotline (toll number)

Lost or Stolen Credit Cards

01 47 77 72 00 – American Express
00 1-880-950-5114 – Visa
08 92 70 57 05 – Visa
0 800 901 387 – Mastercard
001-605-335-2222 – Citibank (collect)

Utility Service Urgencies

There is no national number for any of the utility services, which have urgency hotlines according to the region where you live. Make a careful note of the number given to you for your area; you can find it marked on every gas/electricity/water services payment receipt.

Please keep in mind that the direct links above are to various websites which are not administered by the library.
Due to the nature of varying departments and communes the above information is subject to change & you will have to personally verify the above details regarding your specific area of France.

“The above information is given on the understanding that it is the individuals responsibility to verify any/all information with the appropriate Authority/ Entreprise concerned, before acting upon it. This is necessary due to the fact that it is impossible for us to update said information and verify it every day.”