Having a loved one experience a medical emergency can be scary and confusing. You aren’t always sure if calling an ambulance is necessary, or if it would be quicker to drive the injured person to the hospital yourself.
The Sedgwick County, Kan., Emergency Medical Service offers the following information to help you know when to call an ambulance:
Don’t move the patient unless his/her location presents an immediate threat to their life, such as being in the water, in a burning building or vehicle, or when there is no way to protect them from harm in their current location.
If the patient is not breathing or does not have a pulse, begin rescue breathing and/or CPR. If you have not been trained in these important skills, find someone who is. (Contact your local American Heart Association or American Red Cross chapter for training.)
If the patient is bleeding, apply a clean or sterile bandage, if available, and if bleeding continues, apply additional dressings over the existing bandage. If possible, elevate the injury and apply direct pressure to the wound.
When is the right time to call 911?
If a person or yourself exhibits any of the following symptoms, EMS should be called:
- Chest pain/heart problems (chest pain radiating to neck, jaw, arm or back)
- Difficulty breathing (choking, blue appearance, struggling for air, wheezing)
- Change in level of consciousness (stumbling, incoherent, mumbling, dizzy)
- Uncontrolled bleeding (blood spurting, vomiting or coughing up blood, heavy rectal or vaginal bleeding)
- Central injuries (injuries to the head, neck, back, abdomen or pelvis or inability to walk)
In addition 911 / EMS should be called for:
- Motor vehicle crashes involving injuries
- Heart attack
- Gunshot wound
- Back injury
- Burn or poisoning
- Sudden severe illness