Many people face a first aid situation and find themselves unsure, “should I call the ambulance?”
Not knowing when or if you should call the ambulance may mean the difference between life or death.
In Australian you can call the ambulance on 000
The operator will ask for your address and details and then question you about the nature of your emergency. During this conversation the emergency services operator will be able to advise you of any first aid that you should be providing, they will even talk you through how to provide CPR if you have forgotten.
A general rule of thumb is: if the person is in too much pain to move them – call the ambulance. For example, if a person falls off a ladder and appears to have broken their arm, but they are not too distressed, you may choose to transport them to the emergency department, or doctors clinic in your car. However, if that person was unable to move at all without experiencing a great deal of pain – call the ambulance. The ambulance crew will be able to provide pain relief as they transport the person to seek medical care.
The other rule of thumb is: whenever a person is losing consciousness or is at risk of doing so. For example – any unconscious person must have an ambulance called for them.
If you suspect a person is having a heart attack, stroke, anaphylactic shock event, severe asthma attack, they are bleeding a large volume of blood, or they have very severe burns – call the ambulance. All of these events are beyond a first aider and require prompt medical intervention.
The decider is not only in how quick can you or the ambulance make it to the hospital, but also in what the ambulance crew can provide on route. You may think you can make it to the hospital pretty quickly, but you must ask yourself, what will you do if the casualty you are transporting goes unconscious in your car? You will not be able to provide pain relief, CPR, manage their airway or any suspected spinal injuries while you are driving the car. The paramedics can manage all of these events while they transport the person in the ambulance.