The U.S. Department of State classifies travel to Peru as generally safe, with the need for extra precautions in a few areas near the Colombian border and in the south-central region called VRAEM. Most of the more than 3 million travelers to the country never need assistance from emergency services. But if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, you want to be prepared for a quick reaction.
Plug the country's emergency services phone numbers into a cell phone if you plan to carry one that works locally or tuck a piece of paper with the listings on it into your wallet, passport, or other easily accessible place. Do note that you may not reach an English-speaking operator, so be prepared to explain your problem in Spanish or enlist the help of a translator. You can call any of the national emergency numbers free of charge.
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For general emergencies requiring police assistance, such as theft, minor traffic accidents, drug-related crimes, or acts of violence, dial the country's central emergency number at 105. Similar to 911 in the United States, this number puts you through to a nationwide dispatch service. You can also dial 911 in Peru to connect to this emergency service.
For specific police stations and special divisions, visit the Policía Nacional del Peru website.
For less urgent situations, such as noise complaints or other non-violent disturbances, you can call the Serenazgo in Lima, a municipal security force operating as back up to the national police, though with much more limited jurisdiction. Outside of Lima, search online (or in person) for individual offices.
As a tourist, you may receive more help for nonviolent incidents from the Peruvian tourist police.
For general tourist information and assistance, call Iperú.
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The central emergency number 116 puts you through to the Cuerpo General de Bomberos Voluntarios Del Perú, Peru’s national (and voluntary) fire brigade. They respond to fires, traffic and other accidents, and smaller medical emergencies.
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To dispatch an ambulance in the event of a medical emergency, call the Sistema de Atención Médica Móvil de Urgencia (SAMU), a free service provided by the Peruvian Ministry of Health, at 106. Do note, however, that the definition of emergency in Peru strictly applies to potentially life-threatening situations.
If SAMU does not operate in the area where you need medical assistance, you can also reach emergency medical help through both the police (105) and fire brigade (116), but the quality of service varies greatly. Fire brigade units generally come better equipped to deal with medical emergencies.
Alternatively, you can call a private ambulance service, but you will have to pay out of pocket for the run unless you are a member. Private ambulance services include:
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