Excessive Use of 911 and EMS Services

Call 911 for emergencies only!

Almost 80% of the runs provided by the Division of Fire are EMS related.  We also provide other services such as Fire Inspection, Public Fire Education, and Fire Investigation that often get lost in the lights and sirens aspect of our mission.  While we do have fires in the city, almost 4/5 of our active response is dedicated to calls for an ambulance and usually transport to Atrium Medical Center.

The Division of Fire is proud to serve our citizens when they need us.  We work hard to be our best on your worst day.  That being said, we are seeing an uptick in the use of the 911 system and in calls for ambulance service for non-emergencies.

While all medical conditions deserve timely, proper treatment, it’s important that we use the 911 system for true emergencies.  We don’t want to be tied up responding to non-emergencies when a heart attack or a serious auto accident comes in.  It’s important that we save our paramedics and emergency vehicles for true emergencies.

The Division of Fire offers these basic guidelines:

What Is A True Medical Emergency?

  • Is the victim’s condition life or limb threatened?
  • Could the victim’s condition worsen or become life or limb-threatening on the way to the hospital?
  • Could moving the victim cause further injury?
  • Does the victim need the skills or equipment of paramedics or emergency medical technician?
  • Would distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the victim to the hospital?

Make the right call. If it’s potentially life-threatening, or you’re in doubt, don’t guess…Call 911

What Are Some Examples of EMERGENCY Situations:

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness when talked to or touched
  • Drowning
  • Unexplained seizures or convulsions
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
  • Mental change, (such as confusion, unusual behavior, difficulty walking or speaking)
  • Unexplained severe headache
  • Sudden or intense pain
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Severe vaginal bleeding
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Choking
  • Severe burns
  • Allergic reactions
  • Trauma (injury)
  • Hypothermia or abnormally low body temperature
  • Heat stress or exhaustion
  • Motor vehicle accident injury
  • Industrial accident
  • Drug overdose or poisoning
  • Shooting, stabbing, or assault victim
  • Low blood sugar, high or low blood pressure

Some Examples of NON-EMERGENCY Situations:

  • Minor illness or injury not requiring immediate help
  • Flu-like symptoms/common cold
  • Chronic (ongoing) aches & pains
  • Minor cuts
  • Broken fingers or toes
  • Emotional upsets
  • Routine visits to medical offices, clinics, and hospitals

While these types of situations require treatment, they are not generally an emergency requiring immediate ambulance response.  If possible, you should find an alternative method to get to a doctor’s office, urgent care, clinic, or the hospital for treatment.  Use of our ambulance for transport in non-emergency situations is an expensive taxi ride to the doctor’s office or hospital.

If you have ongoing transportation issues for routine visits or non-emergency treatment, the City may be able to help you find alternative options.  The transit bus system runs Monday through Saturday, and there are other transportation services provided by social service agencies that offer transportation for low income and/or seniors in certain situations.  The Middletown Transit System can be accessed at http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/transit/ .

If you need assistance with ongoing medical transportation issues, contact the Middletown Division of Fire at 425-7996, http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/fire/ or the Middletown Health Department at  425-1818 http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/health/ and we’ll try to help you find reliable transportation for non-emergency medical treatment.

Make sure that our 911 system and our EMS services are not tied up on non-emergencies when you need us most.

Have a great week!

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