As in most developed countries, Korea has an emergency services number that is both easy to remember and useful in any emergency situation. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, simply dial 119 on your cellphone and you will be put through immediately to emergency services. The response team for 119 speak several different languages, including English, French, Chinese, Japanese and German.
If, for some reason, you cannot get through to the emergency services, you should always call the tourist helpline at 02-1330. They can get an ambulance, fire truck or police car to your destination just as quickly as if you call yourself and are extremely helpful with the process. In addition to being helpful in emergency situations, 1330 is a great phone number to remember for any questions you may have regarding Korea.
In the past, expats living in Seoul have complained about the service they received from the 119 directory. Common complaints have included not being provided with adequate language services, waiting for emergency services for a prolonged amount of time and, at times, expats have had problems being taken seriously. While such service is a rare occurrence, it does happen from time to time. If you are having trouble with either of these help directories, call the Medical Referral Service at 010-4769-8212 or 010-8750-8212. This service is provided by fellow expats and while they cannot give you any kind of medical advice, they can tell you the nearest place for you or your companion to receive medical treatment, which is particularly useful if a medical emergency occurs in an area unfamiliar to you. This is a 24-hour service.
While there are no poison control hotlines in Korea (at least, none catering to expats), you can call the Yongsan Army Base Hospital’s emergency room if you or someone you know has ingested poison – they can give you the best information/medical advice. Telephone: 7917-5545/6001.