Can You Dial 112 to Reach Emergency Services in the U.S.?

A story shared online claims you can dial 112 to reach emergency services in the US and Canada. Today we'll take a look at this claim.

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112 is primarily a European emergency number. Even though it may work on some phones in the U.S. and Canada, it is advisable to simply dial 911.

The 112 standard was implemented with a July 29, 1991 decision by the Council of the European Union. The International Telecommunication Union has suggested that either 112 or 911 be established for emergency services by member countries.

Thus, dialing 112 is a common emergency number in Europe, as well as other countries. It is not, however, standard in the U.S. There are phones in the U.S. and Canada on which dialing 112 does work (GSM phones) but in this case the 112 calls will merely be forwarded to 911. In Australia, 112 calls will be forwarded to 000, the standard emergency number there.

The Story
Let’s take a look at the story being shared online:

WARNING: Some knew about the red light on cars, but not Dialing 112.
An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren’s parents have always told her to never pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc.

Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called, 112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren’t, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.

Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.
I never knew about the 112 Cell Phone feature. I tried it on my AT&T phone & it said, “Dialing Emergency Number.”
Especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going on to a safe place.

*Speaking to a service representative at Bell Mobility confirmed that 112 was a direct link to State trooper info. So, now it’s your turn to let your friends know about “Dialing, 112″

You may want to send this to every Man, Woman & Youngster you know; it may well save a life.

This applies to ALL 50 states

If You Aren’t Sure a Pullover is Real
We will defer to the advice of Capt. Paul Starks as quoted in this Washington Post article:

Before stopping your car, if the purported police car doesn’t look like a real police vehicle or doesn’t seem right in any other way, call 911. Tell the dispatcher that what looks to be a police car is following you but that the situation doesn’t feel right and you want to drive to a well-lit, public area — a gas station, for example — before pulling over. This also allows the police department to check whether a real officer is making the stop.

Bottom Line
In the U.S. and Canada, dialing 112 may or may not work on your phone, and could cost you valuable seconds in an emergency if it doesn’t. If you have an emergency, dial 911.

Article Updated February 15, 2013

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  • G Tom

    Thanks for all you do, Waffles. For each internet hoax I see, I link your site debunking it on my own Facebook page.

    The world is full of suckers, Barnum was right.*

    *Although P.T. Barnum didn’t actually say “There’s a sucker born every minute.”