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Madrid: What you need to know in an emergency

Madrid is one of the cities with the greatest access to public services in the whole of the European Union. Its rescue teams are considered to be one of the highest in the world, commended for their loyal support in any emergency.

At this time the city is under constant surveillance since alerts for terrorist attacks have heightened following recent events in neighbouring countries. In 2004 there were three bombs detonated in one of the stations in the city’s subway, leaving 191 dead and 1500 injured.

However, the question that many ask is if something like this happens in Madrid where do we go? Who do we ask for help? Many locals are aware of the answers to these questions, however tourists and new residents don’t know what to do in case of an emergency.

Emergency plan

If you find yourself in an emergency, the following information can help:

  • Dial 112 (the emergency number), stay calm and stay in a well-protected area. Follow the advice of the professionals and don’t do anything irrational that could worsen the situation.
  • You should always have an emergency plan to solve situations as effectively as possible. All household members should be aware of where fire hydrants and gas taps are located as well as a fire extinguisher.
  • If possible, always notify immediate neighbours and relatives. Alert local authorities (you should always have the number of the nearest fire brigade to your house just in case dialing 112 takes too long to respond).
  • Keep a pre-packed backpack full of essentials that you can grab and go.


Emergency backpack

  • In case of an emergency bring a backpack with all the necessary equipment to survive.
  • All members of the family should have one
  • Make sure it is an easily accessible place and is in view
  • Carry water, flashlights, important phone numbers, fresh and light clothes, a map of the city, plastic containers and non-perishable food, sticky notes and antiseptic products. If possible a fully charged mobile phone too.


Emergency shelf

Have an emergency shelf in your cupboard where you keep products that’ll come in handy during an emergency. Only use the products when necessary. You should have on the shelf:

  • 5 litres of water per person
  • Non-perishable canned food
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights with full batteries
  • A whistle in case of earthquakes/floods
  • One litre of bleach or chlorine tablets
  • Portable radio with full batteries
  • Toiletries such as toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Make an inventory of the products with expiry dates so you know when to replace them if necessary.


Remember, in emergencies such as fires, blackouts, earthquakes, floods, attacks, explosions or collapses evacuate the area to as far away as possible if it has not directly affected you. Avoid being exposed on the streets and seek shelter. Lock doors behind you, unplug electronics and position yourself in a well-ventilated space with no hazards around. After any incident you should always go to the doctor and have a health check.

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