When to Actually Call An Ambulance.

When to Actually Call An Ambulance.

Each call to 000 for an ambulance costs money.

A survey of 1500 Australians, commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au, revealed 25 per cent of respondents worryingly believed ambulance rides were free for “all emergencies, across all states”.

Consider the cost of those unnecessary call outs to ambulance services across Australia. Consider too, the overwhelming demand on an already overstretched emergency service responding to trivial and non-life threatening calls.

Victorian ambulance rides attract a standard cost of $1204, yet 37 per cent of Victorians believed trips free or under $300 and 55 per cent under $500.

Western Australians face a flat fee of $949, while other states charge initial call-out fees and then distance-based extra charges.

In South Australia, it’s $955, plus $5.50/km, while the ACT call-out is $936, then $12/km for travel outside of the ACT.

NSW ambulances cost $372, plus $3.35/km, capped at $6095. This may not affect those close to hospitals, but $6000 for those in remote areas could break the bank. In NSW, 46 per cent thought ambulance rides were free or under $300.

Read on for our guide to when to ACTUALLY call an ambulance.

Call an ambulance for REAL emergencies such as but not limited to:

  • chest pain or chest tightness
  • sudden onset of weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
  • breathing difficulties
  • unconsciousness
  • uncontrollable bleeding
  • sudden collapse or unexplained fall
  • unexplained fitting in adults
  • injury from a major car accident
  • falling from a great height
  • serious assault including stabbing or shooting
  • severe burns, particularly in young children
  • infants that are fitting or have an ongoing fever

If the casualty is unconscious

  • If they are breathing, roll them into the recovery position (on their side so that their tongue falls forward in their mouth and any vomit can drain away), trying not to twist their neck or spine at all. Any head injury may well have caused spinal damage as the head recoils from the blow.
  • If they are not breathing start CPR.
  • Call for an ambulance.

When to Call an Ambulance

If the casualty is conscious and has a serious head injury

  • Phone 000 for an ambulance
  • Do your best to keep the casualty calm and still – make sure they do not twist, as they could have a spinal injury
  • If there is bleeding, grab a clean cloth and apply pressure
  • Do not attempt to clean the wound as it could make things worse
  • Do not apply forceful direct pressure to the wound if you suspect the skull is fractured
  • Do not remove any object that’s stuck in the wound

When to Call an Ambulance


It is strongly advised that you attend a practical first aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Visit www.hotresponsefa.com.au  for more information about our practical and online courses and to access free resources.

Hot Response First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Hot Response First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.