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    #1

    What's the fire number?

    Hi.

    Let's say I am going to study in a country for one year. When I am there, I want to know something about the city. For example, the emergency number. If I want to know the number of fire department, is it natural to ask "What's the fire number?"

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    #2

    Re: What's the fire number?

    Try:

    What's the number to call for emergencies? (Here it's 911 for fire, ambulance, or police.)
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    #3

    Re: What's the fire number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Try:

    What's the number to call for emergencies? (Here it's 911 for fire, ambulance, or police.)
    Hmm, in China 119 is for fire, 120 for ambulance and 110 for police. I think I need to be more specific.

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    #4

    Re: What's the fire number?

    It depends on which country you are in. In the UK, the number is 999 for all emergency services.
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    #5

    Re: What's the fire number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    For example, the emergency number. If I want to know the number of fire department, is it natural to ask "What's the fire number?"
    I'd say What's the emergency number for the fire department? I think that's "fire brigade" in British English.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 08-Mar-2020 at 21:36. Reason: Add a missing quotation mark.
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    #6

    Re: What's the fire number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Hi.

    Let's say I am going to study in a country for one year. When I am there, I want to know something about the city. For example, the emergency number. If I want to know the number of fire department, is it natural to ask "What's the fire number?"
    Depending on context it would be understood, but I would prefer, "What's the number to report a fire?"
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 09-Mar-2020 at 18:46. Reason: fixing typo

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    #7

    Re: What's the fire number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Here it's 911 for fire, ambulance, or police.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Hmm, in China 119 is for fire, 120 for ambulance and 110 for police. I think I need to be more specific.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    It depends on which country you are in. In the UK, the number is 999 for all emergency services.
    In many countries, you have just one number for all emergency services. For example, as Tarheel said, in the US you dial 911 no matter what the nature of your emergency. An operator then notifies the appropriate emergency services for you, while keeping you on the line, usually until said help arrives. I'm assuming it works the same in England as per Picscean. I think the idea is that it's just easier to remember one number (same reason they use a 3 digit number instead of a full phone extension) when you're stressed, injured, or otherwise panicking.


    I would simply ask "What's the number for emergencies here in (X country)?" If they look at you strange, or ask "Which one?", then I'd follow up with something like "Is there just one number to call in case of emergencies, or are there separate numbers for police, ambulance, and fire?"

    If there are multiple numbers, I'd expect them to reply with the different numbers as you did in post #3. Otherwise, you might have to prod them a bit with something like:
    "What's the emergency number for an ambulance?"
    "Okay, then what's the emergency number for police?"
    "And then what about the number for fire emergencies?"

    For what it's worth, here's a list issued by the US State Department for travel, of 911 equivalents throughout the world, although it's somewhat outdated - Mexico recently moved to 911 a couple of years ago in solidarity with the rest of North America (US and Canada) . As you can see, some countries have one number, while others have separate numbers for specific services. It states China has two numbers for police - one just for traffic accidents, and a second one for other police emergencies. Is that still true?

    A couple of them strike me as amusing - for example, calling the police on Ascension Island is '6666'. It's also seems odd that Curacao has simple 3 digit numbers for ambulance and fire, but calling the police requires a six digit string of 4's.

    There are a few countries with really complex numbers that would be hard to recall under duress - I guess if you don't have them programmed into your phone, you're in a world of hurt.

    But then, there are a handful of countries who've taken simplification a step further, and have only two digit emergency numbers!
    Last edited by Skrej; 09-Mar-2020 at 16:47. Reason: typo, natch
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