April 12, 2024

Who Should We Call if an Ambulance Hasn’t Arrived?

Let’s say you have a medical emergency and call 911, but the ambulance is yet to arrive. What next? Who should you call?

ACC Medlink specializes in the provision of non-emergency Long Distance Medical Transport Services. As such, the firm is a great port of call for patients seeking comfortable and safe transfer to and from medical appointments or facilities. The firm is staffed by experienced medical personnel. Thus, you can expect a safe, competent, and professional transfer service, but we digress.

Well then, what should you do as you await an ambulance? If it hasn’t arrived after a reasonable time, you can do the following:

Follow Up with the Dispatch Center

Call your local emergency services dispatch center. They can help you determine the status of your request and explain possible delays. Usually, the dispatch center adopts a tiered approach that prioritizes the most critical emergencies. Besides, some people call 911 for minor issues, which may not require ambulances.

This implies that you might have to wait longer than expected if your situation is not life-threatening. EMS units are typically spread out across a region, and the nearest ambulance might be on another call. Similarly, the units usually have finite resources to handle cases.

And while the EMS provider may contract private ambulances, they may not respond to your call if you’re not within their service area. The same goes for municipal ambulances, which are usually limited geographically. That aside, the ambulance may delay for other reasons, as outlined below:

Your incident requires police intervention – For example, if you’re dealing with a gun-related incidence or domestic violence situation, the ambulance staff may wait for the police to arrive. EMS crews may only arrive after getting the all-clear from the police. Even if they’re dispatched, they still have to wait for the police to arrive. In such cases, when you call the EMS provider and explain your situation, they’ll involve law enforcement before sending an ambulance.
Heavy traffic – It’s possible that an ambulance is stuck in traffic and can’t reach you quickly enough. This is common during peak hours or significant road closures due to construction work or events.
Bad weather – Ambulances may not respond to emergencies quickly if bad weather, such as heavy snowfall or thunderstorms. The dispatcher can explain the situation, after which you can decide on the appropriate action. That said, find out if the ambulance is on its way or has been dispatched before considering other options.

Contact Your Local Hospital

If you can’t reach the dispatch center or need faster medical attention, contact your nearest hospital and ask for an ambulance. You can do this by calling the switchboard or emergency number. However, remember that the hospital is not obligated to send an ambulance if they deem your situation non-life threatening.

Try the Fire Department

Your local fire department can also come in handy in an emergency. Most fire departments have emergency medical personnel and vehicles, such as ambulances, to handle medical situations. In case of delays from other providers, they may get to you faster.

Paramedic firefighters can help stabilize a patient before transfer to the hospital. And even if the fire department doesn’t have an ambulance, their staff can save a patient’s life. The idea is to ensure you or your family member gets the medical attention they need in time.

Call in Private Ambulance Companies

Private firms tend to charge for their services and may not come if they are out of their service area. Some require pre-registration, while others accept payments via insurance. Nevertheless, they can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

These are usually located close to hospitals and offer medical transport services on an emergency basis. Private ambulances offer a range of benefits, including prompt response times and well-equipped vehicles.

Besides, some private companies specialize in non-emergency medical transport services and long-distance transfers. They may be a good option if you need to be transported from one facility to another.

Seek Help from Neighbors or Friends

Consider getting to the nearest medical facility on your own if you’re not in an emergency. You can ask for help from neighbors, friends, or family members to take you to the hospital by car. This may be a faster approach than waiting for an ambulance, which might take longer than expected. That said, weigh the option carefully by considering your condition or the patient’s before taking such a risk.

Emergency response times vary depending on where you live and various other factors. This means you may experience an ambulance delay sometimes. When dealing with an emergency, it’s advisable to rely on the EMS unit first. In case of delays, consider the other alternatives mentioned if you need medical attention quickly.

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