Visiting another country or living abroad is an exciting, educational and stimulating experience for anyone fortunate enough to do so. Visitors enjoy a carefree holiday, workers and retirees go about the day to day life with little or no concerns. Few, if any, of them give a second thought of what they should do in an emergency. Sadly, some people will get sick or have an accident while they are abroad and require emergency ambulance service.

Foreigners Need to be Self Aware

Personal safety is important at all times, but even more so when in a foreign country. Whilst abroad, visitors often, quite inadvertently, put themselves at greater risk than they would in their home country. Caution often gets thrown to the wind, overtaken by an almost subconscious feeling of invincibility. Visitors to a foreign country, statistically, are more likely to have an accident than they would in their home country. Very few give any real thought to the possibility of a mishap. 

In addition to accidents, there is the real possibility of serious illness and, all too commonly, heart attacks. In March of this year the results of a study by Dr. Kai Chen, researcher at the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the German Research Center for Environmental Health were published. This study was to see if there was any correlation between hot weather and the risk of heart attack.

The research covered 27,000 individual cases, and in conclusion Dr. Kai Chen said “Our study suggests that greater consideration should be given to high temperatures as a potential trigger for heart attacks”. Let us not forget that Thailand is a hot country! 

Most of the visitors, foreign workers and retirees, in the Kingdom come from countries that have cooler climates. The sudden change to a hot humid climate can cause a degree of ‘body shock’, the potential negative effects of this should not be underestimated until the body has acclimatized to the new environment.

In addition to this, there are unfamiliar driving laws which can be confusing, which puts road users at risk. Foreigners often take unnecessary risks on the road that they wouldn’t do in their own country, riding motorcycles without a helmet is a common high-risk undertaking by foreigners in Thailand.

Then there is the sense of adventure that many visitors seek when they are abroad. Active pastimes which are unfamiliar to them may seem fun and exciting, but they don’t come without risk. When viewed objectively, whilst abroad most foreigners take far more risks every day of their stay than they ever would in their home country. Conversely, whilst they are abroad, they are far more likely to require an emergency ambulance service. 

Summoning a Public Emergency Ambulance Service

From severe sickness, accidents and heart attacks, once given a little thought, it is apparent that everyone should be aware of how to alert an emergency ambulance service. For foreign visitors to the kingdom, there are 2 avenues to summoning emergency medical help.

You may require an emergency ambulance for yourself, or you want to call an ambulance for someone else, perhaps after witnessing an accident. In this case you should call 1669. This is a coordinated hotline which went live in October of 2015 and is manned 24 hours a day. After giving basic information, the operator will dispatch a public emergency ambulance to the stipulated location. If possible, have a Thai person call for you, although the 1669 operators do all speak a degree of English.

Private Hospital Emergency Ambulance Services

Foreigners who have resided in Thailand for any length of time, may have a medical history with one particular hospital, or hospital group. A sick person or accident victim may be able to communicate this information to an individual that is making the emergency call, or in some cases they may be calling themselves. Private hospitals all have their own emergency ambulance service and if the person’s hospital emergency number is known, then this should be the primary contact. 

Operators manning the emergency numbers at private hospitals will all speak a good standard on English, so there is very little chance of a language barrier causing delay or an inappropriate response. That said, you may be instilled with a greater level of confidence if a Native Thai speaker calls on your behalf. 

The emergency ambulance services operating from private hospitals is very good, and is as high a standard as anywhere else in the world. Operators are highly skilled and medically trained. After taking basic information and dispatching their emergency ambulance, the operator will continue to communicate with the caller to gleam essential information to assist the first responders and the physicians who will be put on standby at the hospital.

This, combined with any medical history the sick or injured person may have with the hospital, can be vital in administering vital and appropriate medical treatment, both by the first responders and the emergency team that will ready to meet the ambulance on its arrival.

Essential Information for Emergency Service Operators

Whichever service a person utilizes they should be ready to supply initial, basic information to the emergency ambulance operator, typically this will be: 

Where is the patient?

Are you with the patient right now?

What is the number you’re calling from?

Is the patient awake and breathing?

The operator will also want to know if the patient is known to you, and if so will attempt to gain further information from you, typically:

What is the name, age and gender of the patient?

Does the patient have any known medical conditions?

Is the person currently a patient a particular hospital? 

If so, what is the hospital name and do you know their number? 

The operators are skilled personnel and will always remain calm and concise, and are trained to be able to instill this approach in the caller who may be panicking or distressed. Since its inception in 2015, Thailand’s emergency ambulance services have become an efficient rapid response unit, it’s operated by skilled personnel dedicated to their profession. Should you be unfortunate enough, as a visitor to the kingdom, to require an emergency ambulance, you can have maximum confidence in the service that you receive. 

Visit Emergency Ambulance Services in Bangkok for more information.