Warwick Community Ambulance: Defining what's an emergency and what's not

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To our friends and neighbors in the Warwick community:

We, the members of the all-volunteer Warwick Community Ambulance, would like to reach out to the community in an effort to better serve your needs.

As our town has grown, the number of calls we answer has also risen dramatically: we are currently averaging 4.8 calls every day.

Last year we responded to more than 1,800 calls and could eclipse that this year.

While we have endeavored to recruit more members, we are experiencing fatigue amongst many members of our organization.

After much discussion, we have reached a consensus on the fact that with the increase in call volume, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of non-emergency calls we respond to.

This creates an issue in that an emergency crew is now occupied and should an actual emergency call come in, it would take valuable time to respond a second crew.

So you ask: “What is the difference between an emergency and non-emergency?”

An emergency is a situation where someone’s life is in danger.

For example: Chest pains, difficulty breathing, an allergic reaction, diabetic issue, altered mental status, serious bleeding, a fall from a height equal to/or greater than a person’s body height or an overdose.

A non-emergency can be things such as, but not limited to:

A headache, the flu, a toothache, diarrhea, vomiting or intoxication - unless accompanied by more significant symptoms.

Many times we respond to incidents only to have the patient walk to the ambulance and the family, neighbor or friend follows in their own vehicle.

If a person is a non-emergency and can walk to a vehicle and be driven, they should save time and seek assistance in that manner.

We are in no way suggesting folks who genuinely need us, to not call 911.

Rather, we are asking for people to exercise due diligence and common sense.

We offer First Aid classes every month for a nominal fee which could serve to better educate our neighbors.

We also encourage our friends to come down the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon to see what we are all about and ask questions.

Since 1942, we have proudly served our town and will continue to do so.

But we can’t do it alone.

We need our community to work with us.

Thank you,

The officers and members of the Warwick Community Ambulance Corps

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