In a medical emergency, call for help instead of going on your own to a hospital. When the emergency call is made, the caller’s number is registered and response is swift and effective. From the information you give over the phone, ambulances will be dispatched and then routed to the correct hospital by trained personnel who know the procedures for the fastest treatments. A doctor, a nurse, and extensive equipment are aboard every ambulance. It is generally recommended to call 18 first and then 15, as a call to SAMU may take more time and therefore, lessen the response time. The Sapeurs-Pompiers dispatch immediately and can arrive and help before additional assistance arrives. They also have equipment to enter a home if the caller is not able to answer the door.
- 18 – This is the number for the fire brigade (Sapeurs-Pompiers) who can rapidly send paramedics in addition to fire fighters, when necessary. In almost every case, this is the number to call first.
- 112 – This is the European emergency number. In France, you will reach the Sapeurs-Pompiers who may act directly or connect you to the SAMU or the police. This number will put you in contact with an operator who can help you in your mother tongue, whether it be English, Italian, German, Russian, etc.
- 15 – This is the SAMU (Service d’Aide Medicale d’Urgence) number for medical emergencies. Calls are taken by a physician who assesses the situation over the phone. They have up-to-the-minute listings of available beds and on-duty emergency response teams in the various hospitals.
- 17 – This is the number for the French police emergency services. You should contact them in case of crime or security threats. There is a brief recorded message and then your call will be answered by a French-speaking officer.
For non-threatening emergency care, go to the hospital nearest you. After treatment, you may be transferred or referred to another hospital that specializes more specifically in the treatment you require. Emergency rooms are required to treat anyone, regardless of whether they have insurance or not.