Have you thought about accidents?
In our excitement of planning a great vacation with our family, of finding that air conditioned jungle hut along the Amazon, of making reservations for a hot air balloon ride in Provence, and next year taking a ocean-tossed cruise from Patagonia to the South Pole, most of us never think about the “what-ifs”.
What if our jungle hut has several poisonous snakes as “guests”, and they bite me? And my hot air balloon crashes into the side of a mountain; do I dial 911?
Not so fast.
Will 911 always be at my service?
911 is as much American as apple pie. Children that barely babble are taught to dial 911 in emergencies.
When traveling internationally and you have an emergency, should you call 911?
The emergency phone number 911 is not universally applied. Even if you are going to a beautiful island in the Caribbean (you know, one of those U.S. islands like Grenada or Trindad; just a couple hours’ flight from Miami), dialing 911 in an emergency may go unanswered. (Yes, I know they are not the United States, but it’s amazing how many travelers overlook that detail since local merchants there willingly accept U.S. dollars.)
Therefore, for peace of mind, I suggest that travelers review the emergency numbers for whatever countries they will visit during their fabulous vacation.
If your destination is not listed here, then using this link you will find a list of destinations A – Z and their emergency service phone numbers. Please take note that some countries have adopted three different numbers; one for medical emergency, one for police and another for the fire department. And be forewarned, many of these numbers are staffed by workers who may not speak English (or any other language you may know.
To be prepared, since your cell phone may not work where you have your emergency so storing the number will be useless, I suggest that you make yourself (and each of your traveling companions) a list of emergency phone numbers for the destinations you are visiting. Type it out so that you can cut the printed copy to the size of a business card. Then “laminate” both sides of the paper with celophane tape to protect this from moisture. Place it in your wallet so that it’s always with you.
And please, have a safe trip.
Countries that use 911 for all emergencies:
- American Samoa
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Liberia (cell phones only – and will yours work there? may need to purchase a prepaid phone)
- Mariianas Island
- Puerto Rico
- Solomon Islands
- St, Helena
- St. Kitts
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent & Grenadines
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
If your country is not listed, check this website’s list for the correct number(s). However, either her or there, once your plans are firm, verify with local authorities (or their websites) if the numbers are still valid.