What is the correct procedure for emergency services?

By Drum Digital
12 November 2014

Here’s is a step-by-step guide of how EMS services should operate nationwide.

In Drum, this week.

Elizabeth Hlophe from Ermelo, Mpumalanga,  has delivered several babies in her rural community because emergency response services (EMS) have taken up to 8 hours to respond.

However, EMS services are expected to be quick and efficient in order to assist citizens with their medical emergencies.

Here’s is a step-by-step guide of how EMS services should operate nationwide:

  • When placing a call, an automated voice response will greet you then prompted to select an option, the first being “the number one on your phone” for life threatening emergencies.

  • The first available emergency call taker will then answer your call and request certain details of the incident in order to dispatch the correct resources to the scene.

The following information is essential for fast and effective emergency resource management:

  • Identify yourself and provide a call back number
  • Clearly state the nature of the emergency and how many people were involved.

Provide an address of the incident:

  • What is the name of the road where this incident took place?
  • What is the building name or number where this incident took place?
  • What is the closest cross road?
  • What is the suburb?
  • What is the province?

Callers should keep in mind Emergency Contact Centre require the province and suburb names in order to clearly map the incident.

Vehicles can be sent to the incident whilst the call taker is still on the line. Thus the call taker can keep on talking to the caller to reassure, calm or provide medical advice whilst an ambulance is already en route to the incident.

Unlike the United States, there is no standard response times for ambulances or emergency vehicles in South Africa. However, emergency vehicles are strategically based in an area based on call and incident history. Local branches also keep track of road works, closures etc. in order to move vehicles around in the area to ensure quicker access.

The biggest challenges for EMS are congested highways and traffic routes. We also face problems such as roadblocks, accidents en route, poor road maintenance.

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