How To Call The Emergency Services In Norway

Norway has a bit of a different system for the emergency service numbers that the rest of the world, so it’s smart to get to know the different emergency service numbers before you visit Norway. So, how do you go about to call the emergency services in Norway?

The big difference is that Norway does not have a single emergency number, but rather have split it into 3. One is for medical emergencies, one is for criminal emergencies and the last one is for emergencies related to fire and the fire department.

In this article we will be looking closer at the different types of emergency services in Norway and when to call for help from them.

The Norwegian emergency numbers are 110 (Fire Department), 112 (Police) and 113 (Ambulance). These should be called in cases of emergency with a dangers to life or health, or in cases of fires. You can also call 911 which will take you to a general emergency service.

Norwegian police cars
Norwegian police cars. Photo by Wolfmann / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Call these if you feel like there’s immediate danger. If you are a bit unsure if it’s really an emergency or not, call it anyway (it’s better to be safe than sorry). Other than that, we’re going to be looking closer at when to call and when not to call below.

Each service has a regular non-emergency number that you can call as well, which is often used if you need to get in touch with the police or medical services without any immediate danger.

The medical emergency number – 113

The medical emergency number is 113, and is run by qualified health personnel. They will coordinate ambulances and other health services that will help you out, while also being able to guide you with doing necessarily first aid.

Emergency health care in Norway is free, and they will help out anyone that is in immediate danger.

When to call the medical emergency number 113:

Norwegian people are often a bit too late to call 113, and the agency urges people to rather call one too many time than too late. There’s a saying “If you’re in doubt, then there’s no doubt; call 113!”.

In other words, if you’re thinking that you should possible call 113, then just do it. The operators are very good at assessing how critical the call is, and don’t worry about wasting their time.

You should always call 113 if the following things happen:

  • A person has reduced levels of consciousness. For example, if they stop making sense when they talk, seem spaced out etc.
  • Have problems breathing.
  • Sudden loss of strength.
  • Get chest pain that lasts longer than a few minutes.
  • If it’s difficult to get contact with a child (apathy).
  • All road accidents where a person might have been seriously injured.
  • Fall accidents from over 3 meters.
  • A person get very pale and cold skin.
Norwegian ambulance
Norwegian ambulance. Photo by Dickelbers / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Non-emergency medical help – 116 117

If you ever need non-emergency medical help, the number to call is 116 117. This takes you to the legevakt in the municipality you are currently in, and allow them to assess if you need to get taken in to see a doctor.

You should call the legevakt if you do things like sprain an ankle, break your arm or other things that obviously need medical help, but that are not regarded as an emergency that could potentially end with death or heavy, permanent injuries.

The legevakt can be used by tourists and non-residents all the time, while residents are supposed to call their fastlege before calling the legevakt. Tourists on the other hand need to call the non-emergency medical help number 116 117 if they need any medical help.

Read more: How to see a doctor when visiting Norway.

Rikshospitalet in Oslo
Rikshospitalet is the main hospital with an ER in Oslo. Photo by J. P. Fagerback.

The emergency number to the police – 112

The emergency number 112 takes you straight to the police, and it should only be used in cases of emergency. If you see an active criminal activity that is serious or are in danger, 112 in the number to call.

The police also has a non-emergency number 02800. This is the number you should be calling in most cases when you want to get in touch with the police, such as filing reports for stolen items or things like that.

Some cases where you should call the emergency number 112:

  • You witness or are part of a serious car accident where people might be seriously injured.
  • You got mugged or see someone get mugged.
  • You witness an ongoing burglary.
  • You are in danger because of some criminal activity that the police should come and intercept.
  • You see an ongoing fight or brawl.
  • Need to start a search and rescue organization. For example, being lost when hiking.

It can be a bit tricky to assess when you should call 112 or 02800, so you will need to make the judgement yourself. But a general rule of thumb is that if it can wait 10 minutes, 02800 is the number to choice. If it’s urgent, go for 112.

A Norwegian police car
A Norwegian police car. Photo by Dickelbers / CC BY-SA 4.0.

The fire department’s emergency number – 110

The fire department’s emergency number 110 is for when you need to get in touch with the fire department immediately. This will for the most part means if there’s a real fire going on. So if you see a house on fire or see a potential forest fire, don’t hesitate to call 110.

Do not underestimate when to call in cases of a potential forest fire. These can spread very rapidly, and the fire department will be very happy if they can get control of it before it turns big.

As with all the other emergencies, the seconds count, so don’t think about the fact that other people might have already called it in or things like that. If you have a feeling that you should call the fire department, then you should.

Also keep in mind that it is the fire department that has the responsibility of getting people out from buildings, cars or structures that are severely damaged.

Norwegian fire truck
Norwegian fire truck. Photo by Wolfmann / CC BY-SA 4.0.

You can call any of the services or even 911 to get help

Most countries only have a single emergency number, which is actually very useful. You won’t believe how many Norwegians who have no idea which of the numbers to call, and just randomly chooses one of the three numbers when needing an emergency.

The good news is that all the three emergency numbers and interconnected, and you will be taken to the correct place when you state what you need. So just call any of the numbers if you need emergency help right away.

The same goes for when you need help from multiple emergency services, such as in bigger car crashes where the police are needed to take control, the medical health service is needed to help people, and the fire department might be needed to secure gasoline tanks or help get people out from the wreck. Call any of the emergency numbers, and they will dispatch units from all the needed services.

Since 911 is the international emergency call number, calling 911 is also possible. Doing this will give you a short notice telling you that you are about to get in touch with the emergency service before forwarding you to an operator. This number does not work on phone lines for some reasons, but it should work just fine on any regular cellphone.

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