911 not 112

WESTFIELD – Remember 911 and forget 112 – unless you find yourself in Europe.
E-mail users and members of online social networks in the city and across the nation may have received an account forwarded by a well-meaning friend about a college student who supposedly saved herself by remembering her parent’s advice to refuse to stop on a lonely road for an unmarked police car and, when she saw a flashing red roof light behind her, dialed 112.
The Internet legend claims that the girl was connected to police who responded and took custody of a wanted man who was a convicted rapist.
Besides the fact the police officers generally use flashing blue lights – red lights usually indicate fire vehicles or ambulances – there is already a well known and effective number to call if threatened.
It is 911, not 112.
In the European Union, however, emergency assistance can be found by dialing 112.
John Medley, the director of the Westfield Emergency Communications department said, when queried about 112, “That’s new to me.”
Similarly, Police Capt. Michael McCabe said that he had never heard that 112 could be used to reach police.
A trial, dialing 112 both from a hard-wired phone and a cell phone, did not reach anyone.
An Internet search revealed a Wikipedia article which claims that the number is indeed used in the European Union as an emergency number, much like 911 is used in the United States.
Although the online encyclopedia offers information supplied by volunteer contributors who may or may not be accurate and complete, the Wikipedia article was confirmed by a website maintained by the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Network.
The Internet search also revealed an item on urbanlegend.about.com which claims that, in some cases, calls to 112 may be redirected to local emergency services providers, depending on the network and device used by the caller.
However, that website – and common sense – advises that, in any emergency, 911 is the number to call.

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