Medical Emergencies

A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious harm to health.

When to Call “9-1-1”

Examples of medical emergencies include:

  • someone faints/passes out or is found unresponsive;
  • breathing problems (difficulty breathing or no breathing);
  • persistent chest pain or pressure;
  • a rapid heartbeat at rest, especially with shortness-of-breath or feeling faint;
  • no signs of circulation;
  • difficulty speaking, numbness, or weakness of any part of the body;
  • sudden dizziness, weakness or mental changes (e.g., confusion, very odd behavior, difficulty walking);
  • sudden blindness or vision changes;
  • severe bleeding from body cavity or wound that doesn’t stop with pressure;
  • vomiting blood or passing blood;
  • convulsions, severe headache, or slurred speech;
  • sudden intense pain ;
  • choking;
  • severe burns;
  • allergic reaction, especially if there is difficulty breathing;
  • extremely hot or cold skin;
  • drowning;
  • suspected poisoning or drug overdose;
  • injuries to head, neck, or back;
  • someone threatening to hurt or kill themselves or someone else;
  • if the casualty is involved with any of the following:
    • fire or explosion;
    • poisonous gas;
    • downed electrical wires;
    • swift-moving water;
    • motor vehicle collisions; or,
    • can't be moved easily.
What to Do During a “9-1-1” Call
  • Stay on the phone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
  • Answer all of the “9-1-1” dispatcher’s questions.
  • Follow any instructions provided by the dispatcher, including:
    • care to provide for the person in distress; or,
    • directions for making your location easier for responding Paramedics to locate.
  • If you or the person in distress has Advanced Directives or other legal documents with care instructions, have these available when help arrives.
  • If you call “9-1-1” by mistake, do not hang up before the call is answered and you have spoken with a call-taker. Otherwise emergency crews may be sent to investigate your situation.
Apr 10, 2022

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