Most of us know that we should call an ambulance only in an emergency situation. But in the heat of the moment, especially if someone you care about is sick or injured, it is not always easy to tell if you are dealing with a true emergency.
When deciding whether it is necessary to call an ambulance, take a moment to assess the situation and ask yourself some questions: Does the patient’s condition seem life threatening, or likely to deteriorate and become life threatening? Is the patient unconscious or having difficulty breathing? Do you see signs of severe bleeding? Would moving the patient cause further harm or injury? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, call an ambulance immediately.
You should also consider logistical issues, such as whether distance or traffic conditions could cause a delay in getting the patient to a hospital, or whether you have access to a vehicle and know the shortest way to the nearest hospital. In general, the golden rule is that if you are in any doubt, call an ambulance.
If the situation does not seem to be an emergency, but you still require medical assistance or special medical transportation, remember that you can call other numbers for non-emergency medical transportation. These services will be able to help you without diverting ambulance resources from other more critical situations.