EXPAT SAFETY

Safety is a priority for people living in Poland. As such, there are several safety services to call upon if you need assistance, such as the Police, Fire Department, City Guard, Border Guard, and Volunteer Water Rescue Service (WOPR). If you or someone you see is in trouble and in need of assistance, dial 112.

112 can be dialed free of charge from any phone within the European Union, even if that phone does not have a SIM card. The 112 operators will quickly and efficiently connect you to the correct people who will respond to your need immediately. The call center provides assistance in English, German, French, or Russian.

Dialing 112 can save lives; however only dial this number for emergencies so the line can remain open for others who need it more. Emergencies include life-threatening situations, or threats to safety, property, the environment, and health. The reaction time of the authorities depends on the type of emergency and its threat level, so please make sure to cooperate with the operator at the Emergency Communication Centre so that they can record your information accurately.

If your situation is not an immediate threat, there are other national or local services you can call for assistance. To get a list of these services and their contact information, you can dial +48 118 913. It is always a good idea to look up these numbers ahead of time, and save them in a place you have access to, such as your cell phone.

You can also download the Moja Komenda (My Police Station) application that can assist you in calling the Police, or the Police Community Support Officers, depending on the threat level of the situation. Police Community Support Officers are each assigned a particular area or district. As such, they are very connected with their local communities and can help direct those in need to the appropriate resources. The Moja Komenda application not only provides contact information of local police stations, but it also shares their distances in relation to your location so that you can call the closest one.

The following describes the usual steps taken during an emergency call:

  • Upon answering the call, the operator will give you his or her job-related identification number, and will then ask how he or she can assist you.
  • Provide the operator with a short description of your problem. Your description will help to determine whether the situation is an emergency or not.
  • To the best of your ability, answer all of the operator’s follow-up questions. Your answers will help to determine which authorities should respond to your situation.
  • Make sure to give the operator a clear address, or directions to your location. Details such as streets, intersections, or buildings will help the response team find you.
  • Make sure to give the operator your phone number so that someone can call you back if it is needed.
  • Stay on the line until the operator has completed your report.
  • If your emergency is medical, the operator will transfer your call to the State Medical Rescue Services, who will want to ask your additional questions about the nature of the injury.
  • Following your call, try to keep the line open in case the emergency service is trying to reach you.
  • If your circumstances change after you have complete the call, re-dial 112 to provide an update.

If you need to report a crime, but do not speak Polish well or at all, you can either bring a fluent Polish speaker, whom you trust, with you to the police station, or you can request an interpreter and the station will schedule a meeting for you based on when the interpreter is available. Do not forget to take all your important identifying documents with you, such as a passport or residency permit.

Fire Brigade

You can call the State Fire Brigade at 112 or 998. They mainly assist in the case of identifying and eliminating fires or natural disasters, but they also assist in reducing miscellaneous local hazards, especially if other rescue services are occupied.

National map of safety threats

The National map of safety threats is a tool used by the police to identify and solve issues that are harmful to the community, such as someone drinking alcohol in public. You can use this tool to report crimes and violations. Once you report a threat using the mapping tool, the police will respond accordingly. You can find and use this map on the following website:

https://eucpn.org/document/polish-project-national-security-threat-map-nstm

What to do when you are the target of a hate crime

You are considered to be the victim of a hate crime if someone attacks you simply because of his or her prejudice against you. This attack could be because of your skin color, your nationality, your language, your religion, sexuality, disability, etc. If you are targeted, you should report the crime to the police immediately, either in person or in writing. It might also be a good idea to bring along a friend or family member you trust, who can provide you with emotional support while describing your traumatic experience. You can also seek assistance from either a lawyer or psychologist while reporting a crime. For this assistance, please call this number, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: +48 604 535 838.

The Nomada Association also offers support to victims as they prepare and report hate crimes to the Police. The help is offered at any point in time during the process, from first reporting the crime to the final outcome of the judicial proceedings.

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