How To Call An Ambulance?

There are 4 simple steps to call an ambulance. Knowing how to call and what to say helps emergency services send a prepared ambulance fast.

Emergency situations require an ambulance to come fast.

If you do not know which ambulance number to call, refer to the list here. Or if you are calling an ambulance for others, refer to the details here.

There are 4 simple steps to call an ambulance. (Easy!)

Time needed: 2 minutes.

Steps to call an ambulance using the Who, Situation & Severity (WSS) Model.

  1. Dial 911

    First, dial 911 on your phone. Press call.

  2. WSS: Who

    Next, tell the operator: Who is injured & who you are.

  3. WSS: Situation

    Then, tell the operator: What is the condition of the patient.

  4. WSS: Severity

    Lastly, tell the operator: When & how it happened.

Detailed Steps to Call an Ambulance

Here are the details on how you can call an ambulance.

Below, we also elaborate on the who-situation-severity (WSS) model which can be used.

Step 1: Dial 911 & Hit Call

On any phone, dial 911. This emergency number will go through even if you have not paid your mobile telephone bills or if you have no SIM card in the device.

Also, if the phone is from a foreign country, calling 911 will still go through. 

If you the call for an ambulance for other people or if you need an ambulance for someone else who is not with you physically, then there are different steps & things to take note of.

Hit 911 on any phone. Even if there’s no SIM card.

Step 2: WHO – Who is injured? Who are you?

The second step tells 911 emergency services of the identity of the injured person.

You doing this helps the medical workers find out what kind of equipment is required as the items used for a baby is different from a grown man.

“Who are you” helps emergency services confirm, over the phone, the identity of the informant. This verifies that the information is not from a prank call. We hate that.

False information wastes valuable medical resources and money. (Ambulance services aren’t free you know.)

Step 3: SITUATION – What is the condition of the patient?

911 is in charge of dispatching ambulance services. However, if the condition of the patient does not require medical assistance, then an ambulance will not be sent.

Details given at this stage help to confirm that medical attention is in fact required. For cases in critical care, 911 emergency services will prioritise your case ahead of other calls.

This means that the nearest ambulance will likely be activated. Other non urgent calls for assistance may be diverted or delayed.

911 is also in charge of dispatching fire & police services.

This simple three digit phone number also connect to other emergency services. If both fire & police are also required at the location, emergency services will also activate these additional resources. 

No need for an extra call.

Step 4: SEVERITY – When & how it happened?

Explain to 911 the details of the incident. Include the background information. Include the history.

You may use “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why” to give more info.

Details help prepare the ambulance crew in advance. The ambulance staff will be able to prepare spinal management equipment such as neck brace and head cushions if the casualty suffered a fall.

Or if the causalty is unconscious, then our crew prepares the AED machine so that CPR can be performed as soon as the vehicle stops on-site. Ambulances will also beat the red lights if the situation warrants it.

Quick and prepared!

On the call, letting paramedics know that the patient has difficulty breathing allows oxygen to be prepared before arriving at location. On arrival, oxygen is given right away & without delay.


There are 4 steps in calling an ambulance. Generally, the caller dials 911 and gives as much details as possible to prepare emergency services for the situation described.

Using the who-situation-severity model helps 911 by providing the most critical information first and details later.

Calls come in every hour, non-stop and without pause while on shift. Duty staff are jam packed and tightly stretched. Doing your part to relay clear info helps emergency workers alot. (Thanks!)

Knowing how to effectively call an ambulance and relay the situation in a smooth and effective way allows quick communication. This translates to quick care for the patient as well, because the correct information delivered helps the ambulance come fast and deliver great medical care.

If the ambulance is meant for someone else or if you are calling on behalf of another person, then you need to say so in your phone call – details here.

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This post was last modified on December 27, 2020 6:06 pm