Emergency Numbers in South Korea



Expatriates should take particular note of emergency numbers or helplines, especially if they have few relatives or friends to seek help from in their new country.

In South Korea, they may dial 119 for an ambulance or fire control and 112 for police assistance. For poison control, they can call the hotline 121 or Yongsan Army Base at 7917-5545/6001 where operators speak English.

The Seoul Poison Center, which may be reached by dialing 129, also offers poison emergency services but with non-English-speaking operators. The Medical Referral Service, which may be accessed by dialing 010-4769-8212 or 010-8750-8212, does not provide emergency assistance but will give information about how and where to get prompt medical help. 

It is best for expats to learn some of the Korean's basic and useful expressions to better equip them for emergency communications. If the call is made from any landline, an emergency caller who cannot communicate will be tracked down by the emergency response team. However, this service does not apply to calls made from mobile phones. In South Korea, vehicles in traffic also normally don't make way for an ambulance so expats may as well get a taxi or have a nearby friend or neighbour drive them to the hospital.

Preparedness is always key to managing emergencies. Emergency numbers should always be saved in any expat's handphone device or posted on a wall near a landline to ensure that time is not wasted during urgent situations.



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