When to Call an Ambulance

   Next time you stub your toe, don’t call an ambulance. The East Hampton Village Ambulance Association distributed two fliers last week in response to an exorbitant amount of emergency calls made to the association, more than 119 in June alone. Many callers, it appears, did not understand what constitutes a medical emergency.

   One flier shows pictures of a taxi and an ambulance, instructing people to “CALL THIS (the taxi) WHEN: You have a headache. CALL THIS (the ambulance) WHEN: You have been shot.” The other flier, titled “When to Call an Ambulance,” gives a list of “True Emergencies.”

   The aim of the fliers is to catch attention, but the message behind them is very real. The job of ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians is to respond to situations in which victims cannot care for themselves. If people can drive themselves safely to a hospital, they do not need an ambulance.