How to get an ambulance in an emergency

How to get an ambulance in an emergency

You may need to call an ambulance if there are no vehicles available in an emergency, but not many people know exactly how to do that. There are many variables to consider when calling an ambulance: price, private or government? Getting the proper ambulance is crucial.

If you are phoning the wrong ambulance service, you can expect to pay up to R5000 from your own pocket. Not everyone has that kind of extra cash lying around.


So what do you do?

If you have medical aid, always have a list of suitable, covered ambulances saved on your phone or written down. It is also good to know which types of medical emergencies they will cover in a call-out.

If you do not have medical cover, be cognizant of the fact that you will need to fork out cash. Ambulances cannot refuse to assist anyone, but they aren’t free. The service needs to cover the costs of staff and medical equipment, so be ready to pay anything upwards of R1000.

In the event of a medical emergency, the number for an ambulance response vehicle is 10177.

Cape Talk reports that 10177 can be used in the case of a medical emergency and can be called in conjunction with both the fire and police department respectively, depending on whether or not there are casualties.

The operator will ask about the nature of your emergency and your exact location, and if necessary, he/she will give you instructions on how to stabilise the patient or yourself until help arrives.

Be upfront

When calling for an ambulance, be clear about the severity of the situation. Explain the situation to the operator as accurately as you can.

Cape Town Metro Emergency Medical Service (EMS) paramedic Nicholas Sales says that people tend to get the basics wrong, which tends to lengthen an ambulance response time to get to a patient.

“When you are calling for an emergency, remember that there are probably 100 people calling in at the same time and all of them believe they are in dire circumstances,” Sales told Business Insider South Africa.

“So, rather be honest and tell the operator exactly what is happening – we know you hate waiting.”

If your emergency is serious, you will be prioritised, and you can receive assistance over the phone to stabilise the patient in the meanwhile.


iER is South Africa’s only dedicated emergency response and disaster management network backed by its own emergency-trained call centre staff designed to respond to any emergency situation 24 hours a day, every day! Need an ambulance? iER members have the peace of mind that the proper medical assistance will be sent to them in minutes, once the operator has assessed the need.

Visit the iER website for a list of services and prices.

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