When to Call 911
What is a true “life or death” emergency?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it possible the victim may die today, or lose a limb?
  • Is it possible the victim’s condition may worsen and become life or limb-threatening?
  • Would moving the victim cause further injury?
  • Does the victim need the skills of a paramedic or emergency medical technician?
  • Are instincts telling you, that your family member or the victim, may be gravely ill?
What are the signs and symptoms of a medical emergency?

(according the American College of Emergency Physicians)

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness when talked to or touched
  • Drowning
  • Unexplained seizures or convulsion
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
  • Mental change (such as confusion, unusual behavior, difficulty waking or speaking)
  • Unexplained severe headache
  • Sudden or intense pain
  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Severe vaginal bleeding
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Choking
  • Severe burns
  • Allergic reaction
  • Trauma (injury)
  • Hypothermia or abnormally low body temperature
  • Heat stress or exhaustion
  • Motor vehicle accident injury industrial accident
  • Drug overdose or poisoning
  • Neck or back injury
Why shouldn’t I just drive the patient myself?
  • Driving a sick or injured person to the hospital through traffic can be very distracting, and may make you susceptible to being in an accident which only complicates the situation.
  • Moving a victim may cause additional injuries.
  • Calling 911 connects you and the victim to individuals trained to deliver care in emergency situations. They will take all the precautions necessary to prevent further injury to the victim.
Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.
  • F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke
  • FACE DROOPING: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • ARM WEAKNESS: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH DIFFICULTY: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • TIME TO CALL 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately!
  • Down the SPOT a STROKE F.A.S.T. flyer for more information!
What should I tell the 911 call center?
  • Describe the emergency: speak slowly and calmly
  • Give your name and phone number
  • Give exact location/address and nearby landmarks
  • Give name, age and number of patient(s), if known
  • Follow the 911 call-takers instructions and answer all questions
  • Don’t hang up until you are told to do so
  • Don’t leave the scene until help arrives
How you can help in a medical emergency?

1. Call 9-1-1

  • Calling for help is easy. Just dial 9-1-1. The information you give the 911 call-taker helps EMS help you.
  • Stay calm, speak clearly and stay on the phone until the 911 call-taker tells you to hang up.
  • Tell the 911 call-taker where to find the person needing emergency care, who is hurt or sick, and what happened.

2. Know what to do until help arrives

  • If the 911 call-taker gives you specific instructions, remember them and carry them out.
  • Don’t move someone who is injured unless he or she is in danger.
  • Try to keep the person as warm and comfortable as possible.
  • If someone else is with you, send him or her to meet the emergency responders, and flag them down.
  • Make it easy for the emergency responders to spot you by turning on the porch light.
  • Clear a route to the patient; move cars, furniture, plants, etc.
  • Close off pets from rescuers; put pets in another part of the house
  • Gather or write down all the patient’s medication and allergy information to give to emergency responders.

3. Know what to do for yourself and your family members:

  • Arrange for children to stay with a friend or neighbor.
  • Pack a small bag for yourself.
  • Bring insurance cards and family/friends contact information.
  • Lock up the house, turn off all appliances.
How can I help the emergency responders?

1. Gather patient’s medical history form.

2. Note the time:

  • When did you last talk with the patient?
  • How long has the patient had this medical problem?
  • If unconscious, how long has it been?

3. Check to see if the patient has any advance directives (such as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order) and give a copy to the emergency responders.

Who are the people who work in the emergency medical system?
  • Emergency Call-Takers and Dispatchers answer emergency calls for help, obtain the who, what and where information and send help right away.
  • Emergency Medical Responders are sometimes law enforcement officers, but more often are fire rescue crews who are first to arrive at the emergency scene. They assist emergency victims until EMS arrives, and are often trained as EMT’s or paramedics.
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) have various levels of training. Some EMT’s assist with rescues, and perform basic emergency care. Other EMTs are advanced airway technicians, and provide patients with a protected airway. EMT’s can be found with the fire department, law enforcement, search & rescue and are frequently ambulance employees.
  • Paramedics have the highest level of prehospital training. They are trained to perform numerous medical procedures and may do so at the scene of the emergency, or in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. At times paramedics will call the emergency department physician on-duty for additional instructions.
  • Emergency Nurses are specially trained to help and treat emergency patients. They are the first contact at the emergency room; they meet the ambulance, get the patient’s medical information and arrange for the doctor to see the patient.
  • Emergency Physicians are doctors who specialize in treating people who are seriously injured or who have become sick very suddenly, such as heart attack victims.
Call 911 for emergencies only!
  • In Yakima, simply dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency connects you to EMS, law enforcement, and the fire department.

  • To schedule non-emergency medical transportation, please call:

Advanced Life Systems Ambulance Tel. 509-574-8445

American Medical Response Ambulance Tel. 509-453-6561

MedStar Cabulance Tel. 509-248-2004

Examples of NON-EMERGENCY situations
  • Flu-like symptoms/common colds
  • Chronic (ongoing) aches and pains
  • Minor cuts
  • Broken fingers or toes
  • Emotional Upsets
  • Routine visits to medical offices, clinics and hospitals

For these Non-Emergency Situations, you do not need to call 911, instead, call a family member or friend or an ambulance.

Other Community Resources


  • For injured, or deceased animals please see resources in the yellow pages under “Animal” for assistance.

Mental Health

  • Comprehensive (formerly Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health): 509-453-2900

Anger Management

  • Miracles Do Happen Counseling Services (Anger Management): 509-901-1349

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

  • Drug A&A Abuse, 24-hour access helpline & accredited addiction treatment center: 800-481-5980
  • Drug – a 24-hour helpline & drug treatment: 800-485-0237
  • Drug – a 24-hour action hotline & drug rehab: 800-485-0251
  • Drug – a 24-hour AA/CA helpline: 800-481-6044
  • Drug – a 24-hour helpline & oxycontin/methadone detox-rehab treatment center: 800-331-4948

Taxi Cab

  • A-1 Cab: 509-833-6560, 509-454-4555
  • Diamond Cab Co.: 509-453-3113
  • Jerry’s Taxi: 509-454-8115
  • Medstar Transportation: 800-236-2011
  • Yakima Cab: 509-454-4555


  • MedStar Cabulance Inc.: 509-829-6996
Emergency Medical Services in Yakima County
When to Call
What constitutes an emergency and when should you call! 911 .... more
When to Call 911
EMS in Yakima