France has extremely efficient emergency services (services d’urgence et d’assistance) and except in remote rural areas the time between an emergency call and arrival is usually brief. However, telephone operators rarely speak English, so be prepared to explain briefly in French the type of emergency and your exact location – try to give a landmark, if possible (see Emergency Phrases below).
The main national emergency numbers are as follows:
112 All-purpose emergency number,
15 Ambulance service (Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence/SAMU)
17 Police (police-secours)
18 Fire service (sapeurs-pompiers – often referred to simply as pompiers)
Excerpted from “Culture Wise France” which can be purchased from Survival Books