There’s a good chance that at some point you or someone close to you will have a medical emergency. Times like these can be emotional and stressful, but it’s important you remain focused and calm. Knowing when you should call an ambulance can make all the difference.
You should call for an ambulance if:
- The person’s condition appears life-threatening or could worsen and become life-threatening.
- Moving the person could cause further harm or injury
- The person needs the equipment used by and skill of paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMT)
- Driving would cause significant delay in getting to the hospital
How to Determine if a Condition is Life-Threatening
Deciding to call an ambulance is a decision you’ll have to make based on your best assessment of the situation. Even if you think you can get to the hospital faster by driving yourself, remember that the ambulance is equipped to start emergency care as soon as it arrives. Some examples of life-threatening conditions requiring an ambulance are if the person is:
- Having a stroke (think F-A-S-T: Facial droop, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911)
- Having a heart attack.
- Unconscious, unresponsive, or not responding appropriately.
- Has been in a car accident and appears to have broken bones.
- Bleeding uncontrollably.
- Having a seizure.
- Experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Having a severe allergic reaction.
- Experiencing severe burns.
- Overdosing on too much medication, on purpose or by accident, including drug misuse or abuse.
How to Call an Ambulance
When calling 911, do your best to remain calm and speak clearly. Be prepared to
- Provide the name of the person having the emergency and what the problem seems to be.
- Share your address or your location as specifically as possible. For example, inform the dispatcher if the person is in the back yard or in the downstairs bedroom. If you witness or are part of a highway emergency, do your best to share highway marker numbers or exit signs as well as which direction the accident occurred.
- Provide the phone number you’re calling from.
- Stay on the phone with the dispatcher to provide potential updates or in case the dispatcher needs additional information.
EMTs and paramedics have access to provide certain kinds of care on the scene and while in transport. This can help save a person’s life or minimize pain and suffering. The ambulance will go to the nearest appropriate emergency room based on the level of care needed and the availability of anticipated resources, such as specialized stroke, trauma, or pediatric care. In certain circumstances, it might even be determined that an emergency airlift is necessary to make sure the person gets the best care possible.
Cost of an Ambulance Ride to the Hospital
Unfortunately, all too often people learn afterwards the price of medical transport is expensive and is not always covered by insurance or Medicare. The cost of an ambulance can be thousands of dollars and emergency air transport can cost as much as $50,000. Calling for an ambulance when it’s needed could very well make the difference between life and death.
You can protect yourself with a membership in Medical Air Services Association (MASA). MASA has been providing life-saving emergency assistance to members for over thirty years. MASA covers your ambulance or airlift, regardless of your age or medical condition, protecting members from catastrophic financial loss when emergencies arise at home or anywhere in the world. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays or dollar limits. MASA provides coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ASBA makes joining MASA easy. Learn More Here.