Panic Button: What to do in an emergency abroad

Panic Button: What to do in an emergency abroad by wackystuff

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 23rd September 2010 and has been read 204388 times.

In a major emergency, if you are not involved in the incident, but are close by or believe you may be in danger, the best advice is to go inside a safe building, stay inside until you are advised to do otherwise, and tune in to local radio or TV for information.

Make sure an emergency number has been called if people are injured or if there is a threat to life. Do not put yourself or others in danger.

Follow the advice of the emergency services check for injuries - remember to help yourself before attempting to help others.

There are 3 emergency numbers used worldwide: 911, 999 or 112 (mainly in use in Europe) for any emergency requiring an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.

e.g. if you witness a serious road accident, notice a building on fire or see someone breaking into a house. A specially trained operator will answer your call. Depending on the national organisation of emergency services, the operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer you to the most appropriate emergency service (such as ambulance, fire brigade or police). Operators are increasingly able to answer calls in more than one language. Give your name, address and telephone number. It is necessary to identify callers, in particular to avoid reporting the same incident twice. 

Do not hang up if you call one of the numbers by mistake! Tell the operator that everything is fine. Otherwise, emergency assistance may have to be sent out to check there is no problem.

Emergency Contact Details
Take note of your Foreign & Commonwealth Office contact details, in case of an emergency: Consular Assistance Team in London 020 7008 1500 (+44 20 7008 1500 from abroad) This number operates 24 hours a day.

Should you fall victim to theft, crime or sexual assault, there is help at hand abroad from the FCO. 

Read their advice on advice on procedures, who to speak to and the steps to take. If you lose your passport, you should report it to immediately. 

If you lose your driving license when abroad, you should contact the DVLA to inform them and get it renewed.

Precautionary Measures 
Register your contact details with your local Embassy abroad upon arrival. Get travel and safety advice on the FCO site, which gets regularly updated. Get hold of an EHIC card in order to be covered for medical needs during your stay abroad, as a European citizen within the EEA (European Economic Area). Don’t forget to pack your insurance details with you (yes, you definitely need insurance!), as well as a copy of your passport. It's also a good idea to email yourself the details, just in case you lose your photocopy. Leave details at home too. It is a wise decision to jot down the telephone numbers for lost and stolen cards, found on the back of your card. These vary from bank to bank.

Read more on what to pack for your year abroad and what to have in your wallet.

If you're preparing to spend time abroad, it's worth considering a Fair FX currency card instead of setting up a foreign bank account. Find out more!

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