Emergencies in Saudi Arabia

Updated 2022-03-03 13:21

As an expat in a new environment, life can be full of surprises. Unfortunately, sometimes, these surprises can be unpleasant. In this case, it's always best to be prepared. In this article, we are looking into how to handle emergency situations in Saudi Arabia.

Emergency phone numbers in Saudi Arabia

There are two main emergency numbers in Saudi Arabia: 911 and 999. Calling any of these two numbers will connect you to police, fire and medical services.

Emergency: 999/ 911

Fire: 998

Traffic accidents: 993

Public ambulance services: 997

Natural disasters: 966

Coast guard: 994

Note that most emergency phone operators in Saudi Arabia will typically answer the phone in Arabic, which can make communication problematic. In a lot of cases, if you ask to be connected to someone who can speak English, your request will be granted, and you will be able to explain your situation in English. However, knowing a bit of Arabic or having someone who can speak Arabic by your side would definitely be helpful.

To describe your emergency, you will need to provide the following:

  • Your name
  • The type of accident you are in
  • The exact location of your emergency
  • Whether anyone has been injured and their current state

Depending on the nature of your emergency, additional information may be requested.

Reporting a crime in Saudi Arabia

To call the police in Saudi Arabia, you can dial 911 or 999. You can also report a crime via a smartphone app - Kollona Amn.

There are three police departments in the country:

  • The regular police are responsible for overall security in the country and will be the ones you will interact with if you need to report a crime.
  • The secret police, also known as the mabahith, who are in charge of interior security and counterintelligence.
  • And the religious police, also known as the mutawa, whose job is to make sure that the society abides by the religious codes. However, recently, the religious police have been reformed and no longer have the powers they used to, which makes life in Saudi Arabia much more relaxed for expats.

Read also Etiquette and customs in Saudi Arabia

Medical emergencies in Saudi Arabia

Dial 977 to connect to the public ambulance service in Saudi Arabia.

Note that ambulance response times vary across the country. Moreover, ambulances in Saudi Arabia are required by law to take on any case ? and sometimes, they may be overwhelmed with minor cases. This is why, in some situations, it may actually be faster to drive to the hospital on your own.

Upon calling the ambulance, Saudi nationals will typically be taken to a public hospital where treatments are free. Expats, on the other hand, will require proper health insurance and may sometimes be taken to a private hospital. Plus, in a lot of cases, upon your arrival in Saudi Arabia, you will be registered at a local hospital and will be able to call the hospital directly in case of an emergency.

In general, however, any hospital will accept you in case of a medical emergency - but you may be later transferred to a different facility that is more equipped to handle your case.

Road emergencies in Saudi Arabia

If you are involved a car accident in Saudi Arabia, you should call the traffic police at 993. It's important that you don't leave the location of the incident until the police arrive and evaluate the situation.

Make sure not to sign any documents in Arabic if you don't understand their contents and clearly indicate to the traffic police that you don't speak the language. You should also call your insurance company and reach out to the Saudi Automobile & Touring Association for assistance.

Pet emergencies in Saudi Arabia

As the country is governed by Islamic Law, certain animals (and dogs, in particular) are deemed to be "impure". This is why few Saudi nationals have pets. Therefore, bringing your pet into Saudi Arabia as an expat can be rather complicated.

However, despite the complications, some expats do manage to bring their pets with them. You will also see some stray dogs and cats on the streets of Saudi Arabian cities.

Unfortunately, there are very few animal shelters across the country. If you see an animal in trouble, you can contact the Pets in Need centre for information on who to turn to and how to get help. Plus, here are some of the animal rescue centres in Saudi Arabia that you can contact:

Riyadh Shelter (the first licensed animal shelter in Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Human Society, Riyadh

Kitty Tender Love and Care, Jeddah

Happy Endings Animal Rescue Group, Dammam

Vet clinics are mainly found in big cities:

Advanced Pet Clinic, Riyadh

European Veterinary Clinic, Jeddah

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.