Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria

Just in case you have an emergency in Austria, here are the numbers to call and some of the phrases you might need to use.

Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria
Who you need to call in an emergency in Austria. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Whether you live in Austria or are just visiting, knowing who to call in the case of an emergency is crucial to keeping you and those around you safe.

You can report anything on 112, the single European emergency number, whose operators will direct you to the relevant services. This number can even be called on a locked mobile phone without needing the pin.

But knowing the direct number to call within Austria could get you a faster response in a situation where time is critical.

Here are the main phone numbers you’ll need to report an emergency in Austria.

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What is Austria’s equivalent of 999 or 911?

In some countries there is one general number for emergencies, like 999 in the UK or 911 in the USA. The operators will then transfer to the relevant department (fire, police, ambulance) depending on the emergency.

In Austria though, there is not a general phone number to call. Instead there are three different numbers for each key emergency service.

Then there are additional phone numbers for specific emergencies, such as a gas leak, poisoning or mountain rescue.

Before we get into the details of specific emergency services, here are some common questions the emergency operator could ask in Austria:

What is the emergency? – Was ist der Notfall?

What happened? – Was passiert ist?

Can you give me the address? – Können Sie mir die Adresse geben?

What is the number for the fire brigade in Austria?

To reach the fire service (Feuerwehr), dial 122

In Austria’s main cities of Vienna, Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck, the fire service is run by full time staff, but in more rural areas the Feuerwehr is made up of volunteer teams.

The fire service also fills the gap for other emergency services (if needed), for example for the police and ambulance services. Plus, they are responsible for fighting forest fires and assisting during other emergencies, like flooding.

Useful phrases

Fire! – Feuer!

Call the fire brigade – Rufen Sie die Feuerwehr / Die Feuerwehr rufen

There’s a fire – Es gibt ein Feuer

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What is the number for the police in Austria?

To reach the police (Polizei), dial 133.

Examples of when you might need to call the police are after a burglary or mugging, witnessing an assault or if you feel in danger.

Useful phrases

Help! – Hilfe!

Call the police – Rufen Sie die Polizei / Die Polizei rufen

Can anyone here speak English? – Kann hier jemand Englisch sprechen?

There has been an accident – Es hat einen Unfall gegeben

Someone has stolen my bag/wallet/phone – Jemand hat meine Tasche/Wallet/Handy gestohlen

Please hurry – Bitte beeilen / Bitte schnell sein

What is the number for the ambulance service in Austria?

To call an ambulance (Krankenwagen or Rettungswagen) in Austria, dial 144

The ambulance service in Austria is trained to provide emergency medical care at the scene before transporting people to hospital.

However, if you need an emergency doctor but not an ambulance, call 141.

Useful phrases

Call an ambulance – Einen Krankenwagen rufen

I need a doctor – Ich brauche einen Arzt

Take me to the emergency room – Bring mich in die Notaufnahme

Some people are badly injured – Einige Menschen sind Schwer verletzt

He/she hit his/her head – Er/sie hat sich den Kopf gestossen

He/she is unconscious – Er/sie ist bewusstlos

He/she isn’t breathing – Er/sie atmet nicht

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Who should I call if I need roadside assistance?

In Austria there are two main breakdown assistance services – ÖAMTC and ARBÖ. They are similar to the AA in the UK and the AAA in the USA.

Both organisations offer 24-hour emergency roadside assistance to anyone in Austria, but non-members have to pay a fee.

For ÖAMTC emergency breakdown service call 120.

For ARBÖ emergency breakdown service call 123.

There are also SOS phones located along Austrian motorways in the event of an emergency.

Useful phrases

My car won’t start – Mein Auto springt nicht an

I’ve run out of fuel – Ich habe kein Benzin mehr

I have a flat tyre – Ich habe eine Reifenpanne

Smoke is coming from the engine – Rauch kommt aus dem Motor

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Other numbers for emergency services in Austria

Here are the phone numbers for additional emergency services in Austria.

Gas emergency – 128

Mountain rescue – 140

Crisis hotline – 142

Emergency services for children and young people – 147

Poison centre – 01 406 43 43 

Animal welfare (Vienna) – 01 4000 8060

Women’s emergency hotline (Vienna) – 01 717 19

Emergency services for the deaf or hard of hearing – 0800/133 133 (SMS, FAX)

For more information about the emergency services in Austria, visit the federal government website or the City of Vienna website.

If in doubt…

If you’re not sure who to speak to, call 112. You’ll be connected to the Universal European Emergency Services, who can direct you to the correct line. 

The number is available free of charge everywhere in the EU from all phones, including mobiles, and you can call it even without credit or a valid SIM card. 

Assistance is available in multiple languages, including English.

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EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Austria

Retiring to Austria to spend time in fresh alpine air is a dream for many people, but who is actually eligible to retire to the Alpine Republic? Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Austria

People from all over the world can retire to Austria, but unlike some other European countries, Austria does not have a residence permit tailored to retirees.

This means anyone wanting to retire to Austria has to go through the standard immigration channels, with different rules for EU and non-EU citizens.

Here’s what you need to know about retirement in Austria and who is eligible to retire in the Alpine Republic.

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What are the rules for retiring to Austria as an EU citizen?

The process for citizens from EU and EEA countries to retire in Austria is relatively simple due to freedom of movement across the bloc.

There are a few rules though.

To stay in the Austria for longer than three months, retirees will need to be able to support themselves financially (e.g. through a pension) and have sufficient health insurance.

When it comes to accessing a pension from another EU member state, this is typically taken care of by an insurance provider in Austria who will deal with the approval process between the states. Access to public healthcare in Austria is also available to all EU/EEA citizens.

Currently the pension age in Austria is 60 for women and 65 for men. More information about pensions in Austria can be found on the European Commission website.

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What are the rules for retiring to Austria as a non-EU citizen?

The most popular visa route for non-EU retirees hoping to live out their golden years in the Austrian Alps or the grandeur of Vienna is to apply for a settlement permit

This is issued to people that do not intend to work in Austria and is referred to as “except gainful employment” (Niederlassungsbewilligung – ausgenommen Erwerbstätigkeit) by Austrian immigration.

To qualify for the settlement permit, applicants must prove they have sufficient funds, comprehensive health insurance and a place to live.

Proof of sufficient funds means applicants must have a regular monthly income from a pension, profits from enterprises abroad, income from assets, savings or company shares. 

The minimum amount is €1,030.49 for a single person, or €1,625.71 for married couples or those in a partnership. 

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Third-country nationals also have to provide evidence of basic German language skills at Level A1, in line with the Common European Framework of References for Languages. The diploma must be no older than one year when submitted with the application.

However, the application process will be entirely in German so for people that don’t have advanced German language skills, it’s best to hire an English-speaking immigration lawyer.

Additionally, Austria has a social security agreement with several non-EU states, including the UK, Canada and the USA. This allows some people to access their pension directly from Austria, depending on the agreement.

Again, it can be useful to find an English-speaking advisor to help with the bureaucratic part of accessing a pension in Austria if you don’t have strong German language skills.

After five years of living in Austria with a settlement permit, visa holders can then apply for permanent residence.

Want information on pensions? Then check out the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How does the Austrian pension system work?

Useful vocabulary

Retirement – Ruhestand

Pension – Rente

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Health insurance – Krankenkasse

Settlement permit – Niederlassungsbewilligung