Tips for Use of 9-1-1

Health resources everywhere will be put to the test as the COVID-19 outbreak runs its course. Right now, the goal is to slow the spread of the disease so that these resources aren’t overwhelmed. That includes Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are under the age of 60, and have no underlying health conditions — for example, you aren’t diabetic, you aren’t pregnant, you aren’t immunocompromised, and you don’t have a history of lung disease, heart disease, or hypertension — please call your primary care physician or local urgent care first. Do not call 9-1-1 to ask for testing information.
  • If you are facing a life-threatening situation, including chest pain, stroke, trauma, or other serious condition, you should call 911.
  • For minor injuries, please consider whether an emergency department is really necessary, and if you need an ambulance to get you there. Ask yourself if the injury or issue is something your primary care provider or local urgent care could address.
  • Every time an ambulance is dispatched for a minor injury or illness, there is one less ambulance available to respond to life-threatening emergencies in your community.
  • Remember, only call 9-1-1 for an emergency!
    • Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing LIFE THREATENING symptoms and conditions. 
    • Due to anticipated surge in 9-1-1 use during this time, it is important to reserve first responders for lifesaving situations.
  • DO NOT call 911 to ask questions regarding testing locations, times of testing, etc.

If You Do Call 9-1-1:

  • Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    • Has the patient or anyone they have been in direct contact with traveled outside of the country in the last two weeks?
      • If yes, where?
    • Has the patient been in direct contact with someone being evaluated for or diagnosed with COVID-19?
    • Does the patient have a fever, trouble breathing or cough?
  • When first responders arrive, please meet them by the street or outside, if possible.
    • If patient condition does not allow for this, or the patient is immobile, please have someone meet the EMS crew prior to entering the premises to inform them of the scope of the issue and to answer any questions.
  • EMS crews and other first responders may be wearing enhanced levels of Personal Protective Equipment, including gowns and masks.
  • Be Aware: 9-1-1 EMS services only transport to hospitals.
    • EMS does not transport to clinics or testing facilities.
    • If EMS transports the patient to the hospital, be aware that family member may not be allowed to ride to the hospital with the patient (except for minors).  This is to reduce the risk of further contamination to the EMS crew.

When to Call 9-1-1

  • Call 911 if you have LIFE THREATENING symptoms such as:
    • Coughing with severe shortness of breath
    • Severe shortness of breath
    • High Fever
    • Acute onset of cardiac issues, blood pressure issues in the presence of the above symptoms.
    • Dizziness or Confusion

Click Here to Learn What to Do If You Feel Sick.