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What to do if the ambulance isn't coming...

Australia has one of the best Ambulance services in the world.

But there are times, when the system is overloaded or there are staff shortages that you might try to call an ambulance and they don’t arrive or they are very late. Worse still, they might say they can’t send one.

So what do you do?

Well the first thing to do is NOT PANIC.

Of course if it’s an immediate, life-threatening emergency – like someone is having a heart attack or they have cut themselves badly and are bleeding everywhere, then keep trying and insisting the ambulance arrive.

But even in these cases, there is always SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, before the ambos arrive.

In a heart attack or cardiac arrest, even if you are not CPR trained, any form of pumping the person’s chest will generally help and won’t do harm. If you’re unsure about breathing into their mouth, at least pressing down repeatedly on their chest will help to get some oxygenated blood moving through their body, heart and lungs. This can literally save their life. Just keep it up at a regular and steady rate for as long as you can. If you have someone else with you, work with them in rotating shifts as it can get very tiring.

If the person is bleeding badly the key to saving them is to stem the flow of blood quickly. (Although people can lose a lot more blood than you probably think and still survive OK.) Lay them down, keep them still and apply pressure to the wound. Use a towel, sheet or even your shirt or T-shirt to cover the wound and press down on it with constant pressure to try to stop the blood-flow. Again, keep this up for as long as you can.

For broken bones and severe non-bleeding injuries, keep the person calm, still and support them. Keep them talking and conscious where possible.

For other household and outdoor emergencies, read some of our other blogs:

Ultimately if everyone in the world was first aid trained, we’d all know exactly what to do while we waited for the ambulance. But more than that, we’d also know when we didn’t need to call an ambulance because we could actually handle the situation ourselves. This would reduce pressure on our ambulance services and our hospital systems as well. First Aid Training empowers you to take charge of emergency situations in life. Book your first aid training now at


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