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When should I call an ambulance (and when shouldn't I)?

There is no doubt that the ambulance service is experiencing heavy demand right now. Even with a big drop off in Covid cases, we’ve all heard the news reports about long waits for ambulances to arrive on scene and also long queues for ambulances at hospital emergency departments.

So, you might be thinking “what if someone close to me has a medical emergency and I call for an ambulance and it doesn’t come?”

Being well trained in first aid is your best guarantee of knowing how to help someone after a medical emergency or accident, while you wait for an ambulance. Especially true if that ambulance could take longer to arrive than you expect.

First Aid trainers also play a vital role for the community in taking pressure off the ambulance system by helping people understand the difference between a genuine medical emergency and one that is non-urgent and can be handled other ways.

Once you are trained in first aid you’ll know that you should ALWAYS call for an ambulance in the following cases:

· Serious accidents or trauma, especially car accidents, etc

· Someone suffering chest pains or tightness in their chest

· Sudden numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg

· Severe bleeding, especially if it’s hard to stop

· Large or severe burns, whether caused by heat, fire or even chemical spills

· Difficulty with breathing, especially if they are having a severe allergic reaction

· Someone suffering extreme pain, especially in the chest or abdomen

· And of course, anyone who falls unconscious

If in doubt, you can always call the ambulance anyway because they will evaluate the symptoms over the phone and if they believe no ambulance is required, they will advise the best alternative course of action.

Where children and babies are concerned, especially if they can’t talk or even properly explain what’s happening to them, you are always better off to call the ambulance on 000 and discuss the situation with them. Again, they will help you decide if an ambulance is required.

There are too many instances for when an ambulance is NOT required to list in this short article. Suffice to say that if you do get first aid trained not only will you better understand which situations don’t require an ambulance you will be better equipped to cope with those that do.

So why not book in your first aid training now and always be ready to help someone, even while they’re waiting for an ambulance. Book now at


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