German Language Blog

German Emergency Services pt2 Posted by on Jan 28, 2017 in Language

Guten Tag! Welcome to the second part of my posts on calling the emergency services in Germany or Austria. In the first post, we looked at how to call the police, and the things you might say. We also looked at how to ask for help from the public. That post is here. This time, I’ll cover the ambulance & fire brigade with you.

Just to recap, here are the emergency services numbers for Germany and Austria:

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.*

Now here are some useful words and phrases to use if you’re in need of the fire brigade or ambulance service. Remember, if in doubt keep it simple and use the bare minimum (example: ‘Rettungsdienst. Unfall. 123 Deutsch Strasse’ – ‘Ambulance services. Accident. 123 German Street’) to describe to the emergency services what is happening.

Erste Hilfe

A German paramedic. Photo by 95213174@N08 on under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)


(Or ask for an ambulance – der Krankenwagen)

“Rettungsdienst, bitte”
“Ambulance service, please”

“Ich brauche einen Krankenwagen”
“I need an ambulance”

„Da ist ein Unfall passsiert“
„There has been an accident“

Injury (noun) – die Verletzung
To injure (verb) – verletzen
I am injured – Ich bin verletzt
He/She/Someone is injured – Er/Sie/Jemand ist verletzt

Unconsciousness (noun) – die Bewusstlosigkeit
To be unconscious (verb) – bewusstlos sein
He/She/Someone is unconscious – Er/Sie/Jemand ist bewusstlos

Illness (noun) – die Krankheit
To be ill (verb) – krank sein
I am ill –  Ich bin krank
He/She/Someone is ill – Er/Sie/Jemand ist krank



Hospital – das Krankenhaus
Doctor – der Arzt
Nurse – die Krankenschwester
Paramedic – der Sanitäter
First aider – der Ersthelfer
Medication – die Medikation
Overdose – die Überdosis



Der Neue

What a German fire engine looks like. Photo by carsten_franz on under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)


„Fire service, please”
“Feuerwehr, bitte“

“There is a fire at <address/location>”
“Es brennt bei /in <address/location> (‘… is on fire’)
“Feuer bei/in <address/location>” (‘fire at …’)
(It doesn’t matter which one you use)



Fire engine – der Feuerwehrwagen
Fire extinguisher – der Feuerlöscher
Hosepipe – der (Wasser)Schlauch
Firefighter – der Feuerwehrmann (male), die Feuerwehrfrau (female)
Smoke – der Rauch
Flames –die Flammen
to burn – brennen


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.

Post #1 on this subject: How to call or ask for the police in Germany and Austria

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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.


  1. Judith:

    Thanks, Constance, for explaining how to make an emergency call. That’s something that should be part of every language course, I think. Your advice to keep it simple was very good.

    I learned “Rettung” as meaning “rescue”. It is worth knowing that “Rettungsdienst” means “ambulance service”, and “Krankenwagen” means “ambulance”.

    I’d just like to add that there is a false friend, “Ambulanz”, meaning “accident and emergency room”.