When a need arises for emergency medical service, remain calm and always dial 9-1-1.  Your call will be immediately answered by trained and certified emergency medical dispatch telecommunicators.  

The emergency medical dispatch telecommunicator is often the first link to a patient in a medical emergency. 

For all calls requiring GCEMS assistance, the emergency medical dispatch telecommunicator collects all pertinent information about the emergency, dispatches Gloucester County EMS, and then offers incident specific pre-arrival instructions.

Basic First Aid Steps To Do Before The Ambulance Arrives

*Please read disclaimer below


  • Assess the scene for safety.
  • Assess the victim for consciousness.
  • If no response, go to Step 2.


  • Call 9-1-1. If you are alone and the victim is under 8 years old, give 1 minute of care, then call.


  • A = Open Airway (tilt the head and lift chin).
  • B = Check for Breathing (if victim is not breathing, give 2 rescue breaths).
  • C = Check for signals of Circulation (normal breathing, coughing, movement and pulse).
  • If no signals of circulation, begin CPR.
  • If there are signals of circulation and severe bleeding is occurring, Control Bleeding.

Apply Direct Pressure

  • Stop the bleeding, but do not stop circulation beyond the wound.
  • Elevate the injured extremity if possible.

When To Call 9-1-1 For Emergency Medical Service 

Research has shown that people have difficulty recognizing medical emergencies or underestimate their seriousness and fail to call for help. Remember, if you think you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency—call 9-1-1 immediately. Some examples would be if someone is:

  • bitten by a snake or stung by a bee and is having a reaction experiencing an allergic reaction of any kind
  • having a seizure or convulsion
  • experiencing jerking movements they cannot control
  • burned over an area larger than the palm of your hand
  • electrically burned or shocked
  • severely injured or is a victim of trauma or an attack
  • bleeding or spurting blood and you can’t get it to stop
  • not breathing or having difficulty breathing
  • gasping for air or turning blue or purple
  • choking and the obstruction cannot be cleared
  • unconscious, faints, is not alert or is making funny noises
  • experiencing chest pains, constricting bands, or crushing discomfort around the chest area—even if the pain stops
  • experiencing unusual numbness, tightness, pressure, or aching pain in their chest, neck, jaw, arm or upper back

The signs and symptoms of a medical emergency can be vague or unusual. For example, the classic symptom associated with heart attack is an uncomfortable, dull feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest. However, some people experiencing a heart attack may simply feel light headed, short of breath, sick to their stomach, or have a cold sweat. Less well-known symptoms such as these may be dismissed as a minor illness.

Another reason that people fail to call 9-1-1 in an emergency is that those who are ill or injured are frequently in denial.

The person may feel that the illness is not serious enough to call 9-1-1, or he or she may be worried about the long-term impact of the situation on such things as work, child care, or finances. Providing help in an emergency may involve acting in the face of uncertainty. You may have to force yourself to take action even though you are not sure that a real emergency exists or when the person is actively denying that they need help. Never be afraid to dial 9-1-1 just because you are unsure a real emergency exists.

Dial 9-1-1 and let the dispatch center and emergency service professionals help you in times of confusion or doubt. That’s what we are here for.


It is highly recommended that you take a certified course in CPR and/or first aid. Even when highly trained dispatchers (EMDs) and EMS professionals are readily accessible in the community, prompt properly administered first aid care still can mean the difference between life and death, rapid vs. prolonged recovery, and temporary vs. permanent disability. These courses are available through authorized American Safety and Health Institute Training Centers and other nationally recognized organizations.

In summary, simply knowing when to call and what to expect when you phone 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and helplessness in an emergency.

When calling 9-1-1, keep in mind that the most important thing you can do is to Listen Carefully and Do Exactly what the dispatcher asks you to do. Emergency service professionals are normally always available to assist you through times of crisis, confusion, and distress. Let them be your lifeline.


This basic first aid information is for informational reference only and not a replacement for CPR or first aid training. 

Remember to treat a patient only to the level that you have been trained.  

Source of information:  American Safety And Health Institute (ASHI)