Whether you’re just visiting for a vacation or considering moving to the United Arab Emirates and making them your new home, it’s important to know the emergency numbers for different organizations. 

These numbers work throughout the Emirates, including in Ras Al Khaimah and other major cities like Dubai. Be prepared and post these numbers in an accessible location in your home or hotel room or create them as contacts within your mobile phone.

Police – 999

The police line is the best option if you need to report crimes or emergencies that don’t fall under any other categories. Some cities have local numbers for reporting issues with harassment or other problems.

The UAE has enacted strict penalties for sexual harassment in particular and aggressively pursues reports in this category.

999 is also the right number to call about any accidents on the road. The Emirates expects people to report all accidents, even minor ones, where no one is hurt. Follow any instructions you are given over the phone.

If there are no injuries, move your vehicle to the shoulder lane if possible and try to avoid blocking traffic. Then, wait for the police about 15 meters (roughly 45 feet) from your vehicle. If there are injuries, leave all vehicles in place and wait for an ambulance.

 

If you witness a death outside of a hospital, call 999 and explain the circumstances to the police as best you can. They may ask you to wait at the site and interview you once you arrive, but as long as you aren’t involved, you generally have nothing to worry about.

 

If you’re in Abu Dhabi, visitors can call +97128002626 for Abu Dhabi Tourism Police. Similarly, tourists in Dubai can call Dubai Tourism Security at 8004438. Both of these numbers specialize in helping foreign nationals, so consider saving them to your phone if you plan to visit those areas.

Ambulance – 998

You can call for an ambulance anywhere in the UAE by dialing 998. This number can result in a traditional land ambulance or, in particularly urgent cases, an air ambulance. The United Arab Emirates is a comparatively small country, so most air trips to a hospital are extremely quick.

Hospitals in the Emirates are capable of addressing most medical emergencies. Typically, any major hospital will accept a patient for initial treatment, then arrange for a transfer to a different facility if necessary.

Treatment for emergencies is usually free in the Emirates, but other treatments will require payment. The government sometimes mandates travel health insurance for visitors, which will cover most other issues you may experience in the country.

Fire – 997

Fire emergencies are handled by Civil Defense in the United Arab Emirates. If you see a fire, call 997 immediately while calmly evacuating. The Emirates recommends closing doors after everyone is through, avoiding lifts, and using a fire extinguisher if you can safely do so.

Fires are a potential risk almost everywhere in the world, but they are typically rare and minor in the Emirates. In 2021, they had about 2090 fires total, over 97% of which were minor incidents.

For comparison, fire departments in the United States responded to over 1.3 million fires in 2020. Most visitors probably won’t need to use this number, but it’s still good to learn it just in case.

Coast Guard – 996

Like most nations with an aquatic border, the United Arab Emirates has a Coast Guard service that can help deal with maritime incidents. They can help with collisions between boats, unexpected damage that leads to ships sinking, and similar maritime issues.

The Coast Guard is also responsible for most law enforcement in Emirate waters and is a better choice to call than the police if you encounter criminal activity offshore. It is technically a part of the military, but issues beyond law enforcement usually get passed to the Navy.

Electricity – 991

The United Arab Emirates has a dedicated line for electricity failures throughout the country. If you’re in Abu Dhabi, you can call 8002332 instead. Electricity is usually reliable in the Emirates, especially in areas tourists visit, so you probably won’t need to use this number. Even if the power goes out, you can expect locals to call it in.

Water – 922

Water emergencies also have a dedicated line in the United Arab Emirates. Note that this line is nine-two-two, not nine-nine-two, as you might expect from the pattern of other emergency numbers.

The Emirates are a warm area, and water issues can be serious, so response times are typically very fast. As with electricity issues, however, visitors probably won’t need to call this number unless there are no citizens in the area to report an issue.

What Should Visitors Expect in the United Arab Emirates?

The United Arab Emirates is generally safe for visitors. There are occasional pickpockets and bag-snatchers in crowded shopping areas, but even this is relatively uncommon. Outright mugging and scams are also quite unusual.

One of the main reasons for the low crime rate is the population makeup of the Emirates. Only about 11.48% of people in the country are regular citizens. That means almost nine out of every ten people are expats and immigrants, and the Emirates aggressively deport people who cause problems.

There is some risk of natural disasters, which may lead to calling an emergency line. Sandstorms are relatively common, though everyone plans for them, and thunderstorms also occur regularly.

Temperatures in the United Arab Emirates can reach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) during some parts of the year, which is dangerously hot and can lead to heatstroke or other medical issues. Try to stay in cool areas, drink plenty of water, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you think you’re at risk for heat-related issues.

 

The good news is that the Emirates expect heat the same way they expect sandstorms, so anyone who’s been in the country for long knows ways to deal with it.

Conclusion

The United Arab Emirates has a robust and responsive emergency network capable of dealing with almost any issue you might have while in the country. The extremely high percentage of foreign visitors means they’re also used to dealing with people who aren’t citizens, so you aren’t likely to suffer from any barriers in that regard.

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