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Campaign by the fire department: Phone number 112 only for real emergencies


With a joint campaign, the Berlin Fire Department and an association of doctors want to promote responsible and restrained use of the emergency phone number 112.

"Die richtige Nummer, im richtigen Moment" ("The right number, at the right moment") is the name of the campaign, which will be presented next week, as announced on Thursday. The declared goal is to "sensitize" the Berlin population in dealing with the 112 number.

Hotline of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians for non-acute cases

At the same time, the fire department and the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) want to draw attention to the phone number 116 117. This is the number to call to reach the on-call service who will send a doctor. This is the right number for cases of illness that are not acute, life-threatening emergencies.

112 only in case of danger to life and limb

"The number 112 is only for emergencies where life and limb are at stake," the fire department emphasizes time and again. Because many people don't know this purpose or ignore it, paramedics and emergency doctors in the fire departments in Germany have been suffering from overload for some time. Often, no ambulance is available because there are more emergency calls than cars.

Number of operations doubled since 2011

According to their data, the number of emergency service calls by the Berlin Fire Department has increased by almost 50 percent since 2011: from around 287,000 to 424,000 (2021). Over the same time period, the population in Berlin grew by only about 10 percent. More and more people are calling ambulances instead of going to the doctor for minor illnesses such as stomach aches, bruises, sprains, headaches, nausea, minor burns or cuts. Firefighters also complain that their ambulances are often used as a quick means of transportation to the hospital.

Amendment of the law on rescue services planned

The Berlin Senate and the fire department have been discussing changes to regulations and laws for some time in order to improve the situation. With a planned first amendment to the rescue service law, the fire chief is to be given more authority and there are to be more flexible rules for manning rescue vehicles.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 19 January 2023
Last updated: 19 January 2023

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