You fall and break a leg. Your stuff is stolen. You've set the kitchen on fire. Civil unrest has broken out in your location. Or an earthquake destroyed the area you're in.
So what do you do in the event of an emergency when you're traveling or living outside the US?
- The first thing we recommend is that you look up and learn the emergency numbers for the area you are visiting upon arrival.
We're a bit lucky here in the States. We can use one number (911) to call for any emergency service that we need. But in many countries, you may need to learn a different number each for fire, rescue, and police.
2. Store the numbers in your phone and print them out, so you have them with you. We recommend doing both because you might lose your phone, the battery might die, or it might not work for whatever reason.
3. Look up and learn not only the number but also the address to the local or closest US embassy. Once again store this information on your phone and print it out, just in case you need it.
4. Find out where the closest hospital is.
5. Check the local government website for any warnings or events you should be aware of so that you can avoid the issue if possible. For example, in Turkey, they post areas being affected by protests, so you know to stay out of potential harm.
6. If you have travel or medical insurance, keep a copy of the policy on your phone and a printed copy. Store the contact number in a place where you can access it quickly. In the event, you don't know what to do, or you need to report an issue to the travel insurance company, you can call them for assistance, and they will help guide you on what you need to do.
7. Keep a little emergency cash (in the local currency) tucked away in a bag or wallet. We get used to cards being accepted everywhere in the US, but that isn't the case in many countries. Having a little cash stashed away is an excellent way to ensure you can hire a local taxi or buy something you need in the event of an emergency.
8. Have fun and enjoy your travels. Shit does happen and while it's smart to take precautions, you still want to enjoy yourself.
The US State Department was kind enough to compile all countries emergency numbers into one PDF document.