New Zealand has four main emergency services - the Fire service, the Police, ambulances and Civil Defence.
Call 111 in emergencies
In New Zealand, the number to call if you need the Fire service, Police or an ambulance in an emergency is 111.
You can call this number on a mobile phone even if the phone is out of credit.
The operator will ask you which service you need and connect you to the right service.
Is it an emergency?
These are among the situations when a 111 emergency call is definitely appropriate:
- chemical spill or fire
- medical emergency
- someone is badly injured or in danger
- there’s a serious risk to life or property
- A crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left
- you've come across a major public inconvenience, like trees blocking a road
- it's happening now or has just happened.
If you’re not sure it's an emergency but you're still worried, call 111 and ask. The operator will help you work out what to do.
If it’s a medical issue and you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.
Check the Police website for more information about making 111 calls
Getting help without calling 111
If you don’t need to call 111 you can still get help by calling the local police station, your GP or after hours clinic, or Healthline on 0800 611 116. For more information about medical emergencies, visit our health services page.
To report a traffic incident you can call *555 from your mobile phone.
In a disaster
If there is a disaster, listen to your radio or TV for advice from the Civil Defence service about what to do.
What to do in a disaster
Disaster relief is the job of Civil Defence. They’re here to help people get through natural or manmade disasters or other major events including storms or floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunami or volcanic eruptions.
Nationally, Civil Defence is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. But local Civil Defence is led by your city or district council. For details about who to contact in your area visit the Get Thru website.
If your life or property are at risk, you should call 111.
Lying on the boundary of two great and slowly shifting tectonic plates, we do get earthquakes. We don’t feel most of them because they’re either too small or too deep within the earth.
However, each year between 150-200 earthquakes make their presence known in different parts of the country. Mostly, we just carry on, but the big earthquakes in Canterbury and Christchurch in 2010 and 2011 have made New Zealanders a little more alert to what can happen.
Earthquakes usually strike without warning, so it’s a really good idea to have an idea of what to do - especially if you’ve never experienced a severe shake.
The Getthru.govt.nz website has an earthquake section you should check out. As you’ll see the main thing to remember is DROP, COVER and HOLD.
Be prepared in case of disaster
Disasters can and do happen in New Zealand and there are some basic things you should do to be prepared.
In most emergencies you should be able to stay in your home. Plan to be able to look after yourself, your family and your pets for at least three days or more.
The Getthru.govt.nz website has information to help you be prepared. It explains the four most important things you need to understand. You need to:
- Know the ways of keeping safe before, during and after different types of disaster.
- Create and practise a household emergency plan/
- Put together a kit of emergency survival items, and keep things like batteries and water refreshed.
- Have a backpack with essential items in case you have to leave in a hurry.
There’s more about about preparing in case of a disaster on either the front or back inside cover of the Yellow pages telephone book.
Information is also available online in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Samoan, Tongan and Arabic.