Robert Davidson

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Video: To Call or Not to Call..the Ambulance

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -Veteran police scanner listeners hear the calls frequently, difficulty breathings, upset stomachs, back pains. They don’t sound like emergencies and some experts say they are costly calls by people who just want attention, don’t want to drive themselves or bother friends. It ends up costing us all. But as

They get the call, hop into the ambulance and ride off to save lives.
But with the thousands of 911 calls Baptist Memorial Golden Triangle gets yearly, they have to be ready at all times.

“We run an average of around 10,000 calls a year here in Lowndes County, I can’t really tell you what percentage of those are emergent versus not emergent,” said Ambulance Service Director Joe Wall.

Two crew members head out in each ambulance but the conditions of the caller aren’t completely determined until they get there. Calls can ranged from a mere toothache to someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

“When someone calls 911 of course we have no idea whether it’s a life of death emergency or not so we respond lights and sirens to the call,” added Wall.

But as fast as those lights and sirens go on, they’re also quickly turned off if the situation isn’t life threatening to avoid causing accidents on the roads.

“When we’re responding with the lights and sirens the possibility of someone being involved in an accident whether is be us, someone in the intersection or someone trying to get out of our way, getting involved in an accident is so much higher,” said Wall.

The director at Baptist Memorial Golden Triangle tells us if you feel like you’re having a medical emergency you’re asked to call 911 and 911 will dispatch the closest ambulance.

The emergency responders can’t worry about whether it might be a frivolous call or who is paying for the transport. That’s not their job. Instead, the patient is checked out and either taken to the hospital or offered advice on other options. At the hospital, they are evaluated again based on information provided by the paramedics and EMTs. Each person is seen in order of the severity of their condition.

“Coming in by ambulance you really are not seen any faster than if you come in the front door,” said Wall.

Four ambulances are up and running all the time to respond to emergencies.