You’re not on base and you have an emergency. Dialing 911 will not get you very far in Germany — but who will you call? In the states, it doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with a medical emergency or witnessing a crime – the emergency number you call there is always 911. However, Germany has two emergency numbers and even in some regions a number for medical non-emergencies, but which one do you call in what kind of emergency situation?
Daniel Corzelius, fire chief with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency Services, Fire Department, explains the difference: “If you dial 110, you will reach the police and if you dial 112, you will be connected to the fire department. However, if you have a medical emergency, the fire department can forward the call immediately to an emergency medical dispatch center. Some cities even have integrated dispatch centers, which are a combination of fire department and medical emergency dispatch centers.”
When experiencing an emergency that involves a life-threatening medical situation, one should always call 112 without the area code. “When calling 110 or 112 on a cell phone, the cell phone should connect to the closest emergency dispatch center,” said Thomas Becker, first police chief inspector (Erster Polizeihauptkommissar) with the Wiesbaden Police Directorate. “The operator determines the type of emergency and will transfer the call to the correct dispatcher. This saves time, because it doesn’t put the caller in the situation of having to make that determination.”
After hours doctor
If you need to consult a doctor while your regular doctor’s office is closed, but you think the situation is not an emergency, you can dial the number 116 117. This connects you with a medical on-call service, which lets you speak with a medical professional for matters such as a high fever or a stomach ache, especially during night hours or on weekends and holidays when your local doctor’s office is closed. “This non-emergency number is supposed to be used in non-life-threatening situations,” Corzelius said. “It directs non-emergencies away from the hospital emergency rooms.”
However, U.S. Army Soldiers, Families and members of the civilian workforce in any of the USAG Wiesbaden facilities and in the housing areas, who do not feel comfortable calling a German emergency line, can simply contact the USAG Wiesbaden Fire Department or Military Police. “For medical and fire emergencies at USAG Wiesbaden, you can call DSN 117 or Civ. (0611)705-117. In order to call the USAG Wiesbaden Military Police, call DSN 114 or Civ. (0611)705-114. This way, the Directorate of Emergency Services’ dispatcher can notify the PONDS guards, in order to facilitate quicker access at the ACP,” Corzelius said.
It helps to have all emergency numbers already saved on your phone.
By Nadine Bower, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Community Relations Specialist.