Emergencies can be unpredictable and often strike when we least expect them. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and know how to access help when you need it.
Whether you’re a resident or visitor in Norway, it’s essential to have the emergency services numbers memorized and at the ready:
- Police: 112
- Fire: 110
- Ambulance: 113
In case of an emergency, you should contact the police through the emergency number 112. This includes any emergency situation or criminal offence where there is a danger to life/health and/or destruction of evidence.
Calling the emergency number is free of charge. When calling you will be routed to the nearest operations centre.
Norway is divided into 12 police districts each having its own operations centre which coordinates the response and handles ongoing communication with reporting citizens via the emergency number.
For less emergent situations, that is, crimes where there is no danger to life and health, you can contact the police via its central tip line by calling 02800.
This can include suspicious activity, theft, vandalism etc. You can choose to provide your contact information, in which case the police might contact you for further information, if necessary.
I once contacted the police through this line after witnessing a bicycle theft. After providing what information I could, the police contacted me shortly after asking for any more details in terms of describing the bicycle and the potential perpetrators.
If you have been a victim of a crime, such as theft, vandalism, threats or scams and want to report it. You are advised to report the crime physically at your local police station.
If you are a witness to a fire emergency, you are advised to contact the fire emergency service by calling 110. The number is free of charge and will put you in contact with the closest of Norway’s 22 operations centres.
If needed, the operations centre will mobilise a response from one or more of the over 300 local fire departments throughout the country.
In addition to emergencies, the Norwegian service offers a website where you can report concerns regarding fire safety.
This concerns everything from lacking fire safety in your apartment building or workplace as well as concerns regarding frequent hindrances in your street (e.g. parked cars) that would hinder fire trucks from passing.
For medical emergencies where urgent assistance is needed, call the emergency health service at 113. This number is meant for accidents and serious incidents only.
Examples of symptoms that can indicate the need for urgent medical attention are listed on the website of the Norwegian health authority. This includes:
- The onset of facial paralysis with difficulties smiling, laughing or showing teeth
- The onset of arm paralysis with difficulties raising one or both arms
- The onset of language disorders with the inability to find words or slurred speech
- Sudden or unexplained loss of balance
- Unconsciousness or reduced consciousness
- Chest pain lasting for more than 5 minutes
- When taking the heart medical nitroglycerine has less effect than usual
- Unexpected discomfort in the chest area, general malaise and nausea
For less urgent conditions, individuals living in Norway are advised to contact their local GP (General practitioner/Family doctor). They will assess the urgency of your condition and give you an appointment on the same day if necessary.
In out-of-office hours, or if you are a visitor, call the 6-digit number 116 117 to get in contact with your local emergency medical centre (Legevakt).
Be prepared to give your personal details, address, why you are contacting them as well as previous illnesses and any medication you or the one you calling on the behalf of is taking. This will enable the staff to assess the urgency of your need.
Examples of symptoms and circumstances where it is appropriate to contact your local medical centre include:
- High fever – Particularly in children
- Moderate breathing difficulties
- Acute illness or serious deterioration of chronic condition/illness
- Unresponsive or exhausted children or adults
- Serious mental illness
- Suspected pregnancy complications
- Cut injuries requiring stitches
- Suspected fractures
While urgent dental care is rarely needed, it might be required in case of a severe toothache or in case of teeth damage.
You can find your nearest emergency dental care centre in Norway on the website tannlegevakt.nu
Search and rescue
Norway has a magnificent nature that attracts thousands of explorers and hikers every year. In the event that you or anyone in your group experience an accident or are in need of emergency care in an area not accessible by road, you need to contact the police for assistance with search and rescue.
Search and rescue services is in Norway and Norwegian waters are carried out through corporation between government agencies (police, coast guard etc.), voluntary organisations (e.g. the Norwegian red cross) and private companies.
Their joint efforts in search and rescue are ultimately under the jurisdiction of the minister of justice, and therefore the police.