Emergency Services

In Ireland, emergency services deal with serious situations where people need urgent assistance. In general, these services operate 24 hours a day and throughout the year.

The emergency services are contactable by telephoning 112 or 999 free of charge. Emergency services are:

  • Police (An Garda Síochána)
  • Fire service
  • Ambulance
  • Coastguard
  • Mountain rescue
When you ring 112 or 999, your call will be dealt with by a trained operator who will ask you which of the services you require.

If it is not an emergency, do not call 112/999 as emergency services may be needed elsewhere to attend to a critical situation. Making nuisance calls to the 112/999 emergency services is a criminal offence.

Police (An Garda Síochána)

An Garda Síochána is the Republic of Ireland’s national police force. For more information, visit their website at www.garda.ie

The following are some examples of situations where a person might call 112/999 for the Gardaí:
  • When there is a crime in progress.
  • When violence is being used.
  • When a road accident has occurred.

Fire Service

The Emergency Fire Service in Ireland may also be referred to as the Fire Brigade.

Examples of situations where a person might call 112/999 for the Fire Service:
  • Where there is a fire in a home or business that is out of control
  • Following a road accident if there has been a spillage of petrol

Ambulance Service

The ambulance service in Ireland is run by the Health Service Executive and ambulances are dispatched from bases and hospitals around the country.

Examples of situations where a person might call 112/999 for an ambulance.
  • Where an accident has occurred resulting in an injury to a person or where a person is unconscious.
  • Where a person is having severe difficulty breathing or is bleeding.
  • Any medical emergency.

For more information, see the website of the Irish Ambulance Network


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that provides a 24-hour lifesaving service around the UK and Republic of Ireland. For more information, visit www.rnli.org.uk.

Examples of situations where a person might call 112/999 for the coastguard rescue services:

  • When a person has been swept out to sea.
  • When there is a boating accident at sea.

Mountain Rescue

Mountain Rescue teams deal primarily with incidents in the mountains and in wilderness terrain.

In an emergency, contact 112/999 and ask the emergency operator for ‘Mountain Rescue’. You will then be put through to a Garda(Police) station where the situation will be assessed and, if necessary, a mountain rescue team called out. Mountain Rescue Ireland is staffed by unpaid volunteers. For more information, visit www.mountainrescue.ie.

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