The U.N. may not always agree on issues, but there is one issue that they have found that it can agree on: finding a universal standard for calling for help. There will be 193 nations of the U.N. voting on the number that will be used as the standard global emergency number for new generations of mobile phones and devices: either 911 or 112.
In the United States and Canada, 911 is the number to dial in the case of emergencies while in the European Union, 112 is the number to dial in the case of emergencies. There are other numbers around the world, like 000 in Australia, 999 in the United Kingdom, 119 in Jamaica, 110 in Japan, 117 in the Philippines, 191 in Thailand, 112 in Columbia, 190 in Brazil, 111 in New Zealand, and 101 in Argentina.
Having so many numbers leaves travelers confused. If you are in an emergency situation in another country, what number do you dial? When there is a critical health situation, accident, fire, or other crisis, every moment counts. Losing those precious moments trying to look up the number to call (if an Internet connection is even available to you) or trying to find someone who speaks English to help you can mean the difference between life and death. Even more difficult is trying to stay calm enough during an emergency situation to find help or research the information.
It is this problem that the United Nations is hoping to rectify by instituting a global standard for what number should be called when emergencies arise. That way, wherever you are in the world, the number is the same. Once the number has been agreed upon, there will be no more frantic searches for information or help: everyone around the world will know the number and be able to call it right away.
Edited by Jamie Epstein