German Language Blog

German Emergency Services: P1 Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Language

What do you do if you find yourself in an emergency situation in a German-speaking country? Which number do you call, and what is it you ask for? This post will tell you exactly that!

The numbers to call:

In Germany:
110 – police
112 – ambulance/fire brigade

In Austria:
Call 112 for general emergency. Or:

133 – police
122 – fire brigade
144 – ambulance

*The number 112 can be used in any EU country to call the emergency services. If in doubt, call 112.*

Lalü Lala ..

Polizei – Police. Photo by hamburgerjung on under a CC licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)


IF YOU’RE IN PUBLIC it would be useful to ask a local for help, as they will be able to communicate with the emergency services quickly. Things to say when asking for help:

Help! – Hilfe! (hill-feh)

Fire! – Feuer! (foy-ah)

Thief! – Dieb! (deeb)

Ruf den Notruf an! – Call the emergency services!
Ruf die Polizei an! – Call the police!

Ist jemand Ersthelfer? – Is someone here a first aider?

Können Sie mir helfen? – Could you help me?


IF YOU’RE ALONE: What do you say?

If your German is not advanced, when calling an emergency service, stating which service you need (eg. ‘Polizei’ – police), what has happened (eg. ‘Einbruch’ – burglary), and the relevant address will suffice. So even if you say:

“Polizei … Einbruch … 123 Deutsch Strasse!“
“Police… burglary… 123 German Street!”

… they will get the message!

But here’s a list of other things you could say. Please note they are very generalised as it would be impossible to cover all manner of situations and illnesses here! The main idea is to get across what the nature of the emergency is. But if there are any specific words or phrases you want to know, ask away in the comments, or add your own and let’s grow this list together! 🙂



“Police, please”
“Polizei, bitte”

An attack  – der Angriff
To attack (verb) – angreifen
I’m being attacked – Ich werde angegriffen
He/She/Someone is being attacked – Er/Sie/Jemand wird angegriffen

A burglary – der Einbruch
To burgle (verb) – einbrechen
I have been burgled – Bei mir wurde eingebrochen
There has been a burglary – Es wurde eingebrochen (if it’s not your house/business that’s been burgled, rather someone else’s)

A murder – der Mord
To murder – ermorden
There has been a murder – Es geschah ein Mord
Someone is dead – Jemand ist tot



Police officer – der Polizist
Burglar – der Einbrecher
An arrest – die Verhaftung
Handcuffs – die Handschellen
Witness – der Zeuge
Witness statement – die Zeugenaussage


In part 2 we’ll look at vocab & phrases to use when calling the fire brigade & ambulance services. I’ll post the link here once that post is up!


Feel free to add more vocab and phrases in the comments, or ask for any specific words & phrases. I hope you won’t ever have to use this vocabulary, but it’s good to know it, just in case. Let’s build a helpful resource together.

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.