Dealing with emergency situations in Spain

Hello everybody,

Dealing with unexpected situations abroad can be a very difficult matter. In order to better help expats and soon-to-be expats in Spain face such tricky situations, we invite you to share your advice and experience.

What are the key emergency numbers you should know by heart?

In the event of a legal problem, an accident, a natural disaster, an injury or the death of a close family member, what are the first things to do in Spain?

What are the things to plan ahead in order to better cope with such unexpected situations (registration at the Embassy, transport, medical, comprehensive insurance for instance)?

If you have gone through such experiences in Spain, do not hesitate to share your story.

Thank you in advance!


112 will get you everything from ambulances and police to coastguard and cave rescue everywhere and anywhere in Spain

The local police have lots of direct numbers but 092 is very often their contact  though it seems to vary a bit from place to place.

062 is for the Guardia Civil

061 is often the ambulance service but, like the police number it does vary in some regions.

One of the problems for many expatriates is that the emergency services can't find us. We live in rural houses 2km up some unmade track and the address is hardly a reliable indicator of the location. Several Town Halls operate some sort of registration service where they log the location of houses using one of the several GPS type co-ordinates. It's worth asking.

There are also several mobile phone applications to send your location to the emergency services. One called Alpify seems to be popular in Spain.

I think the first thing to understand is that things do not work the same in Spain as the U.K. Accept that in Spain some things work and generally work well and some things don't.
So for some practical advice - if you have an emergency in the street the paramedic service is, in my experience, excellent. Caring human beings who arrive promptly. However, do not, as in DO NOT use the emergency clinic at Hospital Poniente in El Ejido, Almeria if you have any kind of choice. It is an administrative, uncaring nightmare and, unusually, as a foreigner you will be put at the back of the queue, which in our case has been over five hours each visit. The Spanish are not normally xenophobic but at this hospital you will meet it in waves. That mentality comes from the top and infects the entire hospital.
The director of the hospital assured me they are going to change. Yes, and corruption will stop in Spain any century soon. Or not.
The Guardia Civil are generally pretty helpful, the local police are generally friendly and helpful so if you need them don't be afraid even if your Spanish is poor. They will try to understand and help you, at least that is the case where I live.
You can find all the telephone numbers you need on-line that you can store in your phone.


When you are in an emergency situation it is stressful.  When trying to explain where you are is difficult in any situation but if you do not know the area, are speaking across languages or indeed have been injured and cannot speak (a stroke, for instance) it is even more stressful.

There is a phone app called SOS Emergencias that can be a life saver.  It can tell the emergency services exactly where you are to within a few metres.  Here is a youtube video about it.   This video is from the Malaga council but the .es version of the app works across Spain. 

I hope this helps....


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