3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

In the event of an emergency or any other traumatic situation, the last thing one needs is to worry about a call failure or try remember the conditions of various response numbers.

Fatal events on the N2 highway have prompted us to gather the details of the emergency numbers that every South African should have at their immediate disposal, as well as an explanation of how they work.

1. Nationwide Emergency Response - 10111

The telephone number 10111 is for any emergency that requires police response and can be dialed from anywhere in South Africa.

A call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars then assign the emergency to the relevant response team to attend to the incident. This may be a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station.

Calls to 10111 made on a landline are free. Calls made from a cell phone are charged at the normal cell phone rates.

2. Cell phone emergency - 112

The number 112 can be called from any cell phone in South Africa. It will transfer your line to a call centre and they will route you to the emergency service closest to you.

When this number is dialed, it is followed by an automated menu. But remain calm, because the menu exists as a form of triage (priority of treatment) control and filters out abuse of the medical and emergency system.

A call to 112 on a cell phone is free and is even possible on a cell phone that does not have airtime.

3. Ambulance response - 10177

The 10177 number can be used in the case of a medical emergency and can be called in conjunction with both the fire and police department respectively, depending on whether or not there are casualties.

It is advised that you have the following information when making an emergency call:

  • The nature of the emergency.

  • Exact location of the incident (including nearby landmarks).

  • The details about any injuries and possible suspects.

  • Your personal information.

It is suggested that you store them on your phone, under 'Emergency', as follows:

Emergency - Ambulance (10177)

Emergency - Cell phone (112)

Emergency - National (10111)

Listen to the full conversation below:

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