When planning a holiday, the main thing normally on our minds is all the exciting things we have planned to do, not what our plan of action will be if we get into difficulty doing them. Sure, we’ll all check that our travel insurance is up to date and perhaps print out a copy if we’re organized, but that’s about as far as it will go for most.
But just in case things do go awry, it’s always good to know what to do in an emergency situation. That’s why in this article we’ll be taking you through the ins and outs of the Iceland emergency number and services. Let’s hope that you’ll never need to use this knowledge, but as the scouts like to say, ‘be prepared!’
The main emergency number in Iceland
As in much of Europe, the most important Iceland emergency number is a simple 112. This is the catch-all number for Iceland police, fire, and ambulance services in an emergency.
It can also be used to connect through to Search and Rescue as well as various other official emergency services. But on a vacation to Iceland, it’s likely you’ll just need the ones listed above.
It could be a good idea to store this number in your phone under ‘emergency’. Simple as the number might be, it is quite easy to get confused in a stressful situation, especially if your home country's emergency number is different to Iceland’s. For ease of access, just pop it in your mobile phone and then hope not to need it.
The Iceland emergency number App and how to use it
Another useful way of accessing the emergency services is via a dedicated Iceland emergency number App. This service was developed in response to the growing number of visitors arriving in Iceland.
With more travelers touching down, the rate of accidents naturally went up. Therefore, the App arrived on the scene in 2012 to make it easier and more effective for people to access help.
The emergency number Iceland App can be downloaded onto any phone or tablet. To access it in an emergency, all you need to do is press the red emergency button. The App will then send a text with your GPS location to the contact center. This is a potential lifesaver.
For example, if you are out hiking and there’s a bad mobile signal, you might not be able to get through on a voice call but the App could pick up enough of signal for a text to send successfully. This will then alert the emergency services to your whereabouts and they will be able to deploy help to your exact location.
112 Iceland app Check-in function
There is also a useful green check-in functionality on the App. This makes it possible for you to check in as safe at various points along a hike. You could also use it if you are sightseeing somewhere remote.
By pressing it, your GPS location is sent to the authorities. Your last five check-ins are stored so that they have a record of your movements.
This information can then be used to find you more quickly in an emergency. For example, if there is bad weather and you fail to check-in at a safe haven, the alarm would be raised.
While this might seem extreme, Iceland’s changeable weather makes it a real possibility. There are certainly more adventurous pursuits and out-of-the-way places in Iceland that warrant it.
To download the Iceland Emergency Number App to any device, click here.
Other useful numbers in Iceland
Although 112 is the catch-all Iceland emergency number, there are others that can be used for less urgent help. For example, if you’d like to make an inquiry directly to Search and Rescue Iceland. You might like to contact the Reykjavík, Iceland police station on a non-urgent matter. Reykjavík Lost and Found is another useful one, as is Directory Inquiries..
Here are a few more helpful telephone numbers you might find useful:
- Search and Rescue – Telephone: 570-5900
- Reykjavik Police Station – Telephone: 444-1000
- Directory Enquiries - Telephone: 118
- International Directory Enquiries - Telephone: 1811
- Dental Care Services - Telephone: 575-0505
- The Emergency Room at Reykjavik Landspitali Hospital - Telephone: 543-2000
- General Health Advice Line - Telephone: 1770
- Reykjavik Lost and Found - Telephone: 444-1000
- Reykjavik Luggage Storage - Telephone: 591-1000
What are the main dangers in Iceland?
Iceland has a very small population living in close, tightknit communities. Partly because of this, Iceland is a very safe place and there is very little crime in the country. This means that it is unlikely that you will need to contact the Icelandic police. In fact, theft and violent crimes against tourists is nigh on unheard of.
One of the few instances that you might need to call the Iceland police is in the event of a road accident. But with relatively quiet roads even in the summer months, this is also unlikely.
However, tourists driving unfamiliar vehicles in conditions they are not used to does up the odds a little. Likewise, you might run into difficulty on some of the rougher roads, such as Iceland’s highland F-Roads.
Outdoor travel incidents
The most potent dangers come when you are out and about in the great outdoors. Iceland is sparsely populated and there are vast areas of uninhabited lands.
When hiking in the wilds, you will often find yourself far away from any towns and villages. In these remote corners, it can be hard to find help if you twist an ankle, for example.
The weather conditions in Iceland can also turn quite quickly, so if you find yourself hiking in harsh weather or in low visibility then things can get dangerous before you know it. You should always be aware of these potentials and factor in contingency plans. That’s why the check-in functionality on the Iceland emergency number App is such a good tool.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Now that we’ve gone down the road of potential accidents and emergencies, you might also be wondering about natural disasters. After all, Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice.
So what about those volcanoes? As you have probably heard, there are dozens of active volcanoes in Iceland and they are all closely monitored.
Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management is a dedicated government department responsible for monitoring natural threats. They closely monitor and track both extreme weather and volcanic activity. So if there is ever any threat to human life, areas will be swiftly evacuated and/or closed to public access.
Return home safely!
While it’s always better to be safe than sorry, don’t let all this talk of Iceland emergency numbers and worse case scenarios alarm you. Nearly everyone that visits Iceland comes away unscathed, we promise.
Statistically speaking, it is one of the safest countries in the world for vacationing. So long as you are sensible and have resources on hand should anything go amiss, then you’ll be just fine!
For more safety tips and advice for driving in Iceland, visit this related article.