EMS – 10 Reasons to call them

There are a whole heap of reasons to call EMS – the main one being ‘you think you need them’. Still it’s a question we get asked regularly and the OFA1 course does include ten reasons to call EMS so here they are!


Dangers are Present: Just about the first thing we teach in any course is ‘check for danger’. At times the danger may be such that all you can do is call for help and keep other people (and yourself) safe. If you do call for help because of dangers, please tell them about the danger so they can come prepared!

Changed LoC: If the Level of Consciousness is decreased due to injuries, then you need EMS. Once people start to lose consciousness they are at risk of losing other vital functions too – like the ability to breathe….

Breathing Difficulties: If they are struggling to breathe, we don’t have a whole lot to offer as average first aiders. They potentially/probably need oxygen and a whole collection of advanced care – so get it for them.

Deadly Bleeding: We’re talking about someone who is bleeding so much, they’re at risk of dying without immediate assistance. Sure you can tie the bandage and reduce the blood flow, but they’re going to need stitches and a whole lot of advanced care.

Seizures, severe headache, slurred speech: Could be a sign of brain damage or injury to the nervous system. The faster they can get diagnosed and treated, the better things will go for them.

Injuries to head, neck, back: We’re talking and injury you aren’t completely sure about. Sure if they pulled a muscle lifting boxes, they may not need an EMS call, but just about all other back injuries will do. Remember this includes just about everyone in a road traffic accident – they’ll all have some degree of neck injury. Even ‘just whiplash’ needs checking out.

Injury resulting in numbness or tingling: Most often this will be caused by damage to one or more nerves. There are other, less serious causes, but play it safe and get them checked out.

Blood in vomit, urine or stool: It shouldn’t be there – you know that! Bleeding in places you shouldn’t is a good sign things need checking out quickly.

Imminent childbirth: Even if you are prepared to deal with it, she probably won’t thank you. Baby and mum need checking over as soon as baby arrives, so get help on the way. If things go badly you’ll be glad EMS was there to help.

Can’t walk due to injury: This one is self-explanatory, if they can’t walk, then need taking to somewhere they’ll get repaired! So let the professionals take them. EMS has analgesia too!

So there you have ten reasons you might need to call EMS. There are more, so feel free to add some in the comments, but these are the 10 reasons taught on the OFA1 course – and now you know them too.


About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at Squamish General Hospital as the pharmacist manager when not busy training safety
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One Response to EMS – 10 Reasons to call them

  1. Why Patients Fight Back A quick assessment of the combative patient’s motivation is the first step to handling the situation in the most effective manner possible. There are several reasons a person may become confrontational during EMS assistance. Some difficult patients become this way during an accident or fire. Head injuries or carbon monoxide poisoning can change people’s behavior, leading them to turn hostile against the ones helping them. If no immediate physical danger can be determined, patients may be experiencing hypoglycemia, or they may have drugs in their system. Some mental conditions, such as psychosis or excited delirium, can also cause patients to react violently.

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