Calling the SCDF for help: what number should you call?
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is usually the one who go to when we are in trouble. There's a fire, we call SCDF. We get injured, we call SCDF.
Some of us even call SCDF when we aren't feeling well.
However, this had led to the SCDF hotline being hogged by non-emergency cases. In turn, this would prevent the SCDF from being able to help those cases that are actual emergencies.
It has been drilled into us since young that we call 999 when we are in trouble, and we call 995 if we need medical help. However, such numbers are meant for emergency cases.
How to differentiate between emergencies and non-emergencies?
The SCDF has released a guideline for people to check if their case is an emergency.
To facilitate a faster response to the patient, the 995 caller should do the following:
- Identify yourself and provide a telephone number.
- Provide the location and specific address or nearest prominent landmark.
- Describe the patient's signs and symptoms briefly with the help of a list of guided questions e.g. male, Chinese, 67 years old, having severe chest pain since 2 minutes ago, breathless, sweating.
- Hang up the telephone only after the 995 Call Centre Specialist does so.
- Send somebody to wait for the EMS crew e.g. by holding the lift if necessary, and directing the EMS crew to the patient.
- Standby to assist, if required.
For medical help, we are supposed to call 995 when it is an actual emergency. However, what do we call when we need help but it's not life-threatening?
For non-emergency cases, you can call 1777 instead. You will also be sent to the hospital in an ambulance but it would not be an emergency ambulance meant for serious cases. This will also ensure that you do not prevent serious cases from being able to seek help.
SCDF does not charge for any emergency cases it conveys to hospitals. However, $274 will be charged for each non-emergency case that SCDF conveys to hospital. Do you really want to waste the money?
This holiday, we might encounter a situation where medical help is needed. Eating too much or having food poisoning definitely do not count as emergency cases!
Do remember to call the correct number depending on the case! Remember, the non-emergency number is 1777!
Singapore SCDF Medical
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