With a magnitude 6.2 earthquake devastating parts of the Lazio region last Wednesday, we are again reminded that emergencies can affect us even during a trip to Italy. After all, one of those badly hit was the town of Amatrice, which is a popular summer destination for those coming from Rome. Even if you don’t get caught in a natural disaster, you may get involved in an accident or another kind of emergency.
Hence, there’s always a need to be prepared for whatever that may happen. Here are some tips to help you survive an emergency in Italy:
Before the Trip
Familiarize yourself with the emergency numbers in Italy.
Like the rest of Europe, Italy has one number to call in case of an emergency: 112. This is the best number to call for foreign nationals, as calls are also answered in English, French, and German.
However, the country also has three other emergency numbers for specific agencies. These are namely the following:
113 for police assistance
115 for the fire brigade
118 for first aid
Print out these numbers and keep a copy wherever you go, so that you know which one to call right away.
Note the phone number of your embassy in Italy.
That way, whatever the emergency you’re facing, you can contact them for assistance. Here are some phone numbers of the embassies/consulates of specific countries:
Rome Embassy – 06-46-741
Milan Consulate – 02-290-351
Florence Consulate – 055-266-951
Naples Consulate – 081-583-8111
Rome Embassy – 06-4220-0001
Milan Consulate – 02-732-001
Rome Embassy – 06-8527-21
Milan Consulate – 02-7767-4200
Rome Embasssy – 06-49-2131
Milan Consulate – 02-623-1101
Practice what to do in case of an emergency.
While you may be in a different part of the world when a disaster strikes, you can still use many of the same techniques you already know to save yourself in an emergency. These include the duck, cover, and hold during an earthquake; or the crawl and roll to escape from a fire. Learning how to apply first aid can also help tremendously.
During an Emergency
Keep calm, stay alert, and don’t panic.
While this is easier said than done, being cool and calm in an emergency can help prevent additional injury. After all, panicking can cause you to make knee-jerk reactions or bad decisions that can endanger you, such as staying still in one spot instead of ducking for cover.
After an Emergency
When traveling in a group, check that everyone is safe.
This is especially important if you’re traveling with children or the elderly, who may need more help in the aftermath of a crisis.
Get in touch with your loved ones and your embassy.
It’s important to get in touch with family back home to reassure them that you’re alright. Once you’ve done that, you should also notify your embassy. That way, they can devote more time to extending assistance to your countrymen who may need it, instead of looking for you.
Alternatively, you can also check in on social media. Facebook offers a Safety Check option, which is automatically activated when a disaster strikes near you.
Cooperate with local authorities.
Remember, the locals will always know the area better than you, especially in an emergency. So while it’s okay to volunteer your help in the aftermath of a disaster—especially if you’re a medical professional—let them take the lead.
With these tips, we hope you can stay safe during your trip to Italy!