In case of an emergency, call 911

Paramedic pulling stretcher out of ambulance

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provide pre-hospital care to people who are sick or injured. EMS are a key component of the health care system. Pre-hospital care includes timely and safe medical assessment, treatment, and transportation services.

Our commitment is to provide ambulance services in a manner that allows the closest available and most appropriate ambulance to be dispatched regardless of location or jurisdiction and will work cooperatively with other agencies to provide comprehensive emergency medical services that are accessible, integrated, seamless, accountable and responsive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Emergency Medical Services do?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provide pre-hospital care to people who are sick or injured. They are a key component of the health care system. This includes timely and safe medical assessment, treatment and transportation services. Key services include:

  • emergency medical dispatch
  • emergency medical response and medical care
  • emergency medical transport
  • inter-facility medical transportation
What are Medical First Responders?

You may live near a community that has formed a Medical First Responder team (funded and staffed by the community) which are usually volunteers. Responder team members must be licensed by Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living to provide basic medical care and work under an agreement with Southern Health-Santé Sud Emergency Medical Services. When you call 9-1-1, the responder team could be dispatched ahead of the ambulance to help you and be with you until the paramedics arrive.

Are Medical First Responders sent to all calls?

No. The ambulance dispatcher will take your information and determine the urgency of the situation on a scale of one to five, one being the most urgent, five being minor illness or injury. If you are in an area that has a Medical First Responder team, they are sent to the highest urgency calls, level one, two and three.

When to Call 911?

Following are some examples of when you should call 911:

  • you think someone may be having a heart attack or stroke
  • someone is unresponsive (unconscious)
  • a motor vehicle accident or other traumatic event where injury has occurred
  • you suspect injury to the head, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis or upper leg (hip or thigh) areas
  • there are severe injuries to the arms or lower legs
  • a major burn is sustained
  • a serious medical condition
  • a farm or industrial injury involving toxic fumes, entanglement, amputation or crushing
  • respiratory problems or if a person stops breathing
  • any time someone is hurt or seriously ill and you are not able to manage the injury or illness

If you are unsure, you should call 911. Inappropriate handling of an injured individual may result in that injury becoming more serious.

When you call 911…

  • stay calm give your name and phone number
  • if you are calling from a cellular phone, remember to ask for the 911 call centre in Brandon Manitoba
  • give the address you are calling from with proper directions
  • describe what happened and the patient’s condition and, if possible, the number of patients
  • answer all questions you are asked
  • if you have pets, place them in a safe area away from the responding paramedics
  • ensure premises are well lit and address numbers are very visible for paramedics
How fast can I expect an ambulance to come when I call 911 for help?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system has a benchmark of reaching any call location in less than 30 minutes, 90% of the time. EMS staff balance the urgency of the call, speed and safety as they respond to all calls.

What is System Status Movement?

System Status Movement is a method we use working with the Medical Transportation Coordination Centre (ambulance dispatch) to ensure the timeliest response to all calls. Communication between ambulances and dispatchers allows the dispatch to know where each ambulance is and to identify which ambulance can respond in the least amount of time. If the closest ambulance to your location is already on a call, the next closest ambulance will be sent to respond. Southern Health-Santé Sud has agreements with neighbouring regions whereby if their ambulance is closer, they will respond. At times, you may see ambulances parked or moving about the region and don’t appear to be on a call: this is because they have been posted to help cover a specific geographic area.

Am I covered for Emergency Medical Services if I call 911?

Emergency Medical Services is a non-insured service and therefore payment is your responsibility. Don’t wait for a crisis to find out if you have ambulance coverage. Check with your employer if you are paying for ambulance coverage and what your coverage is. If you do not have coverage, you should explore options including Blue Cross or other insurance companies.

What is an interfacility transfer?

An interfacility transfer is when you need to be transferred from one health facility to another, for example, from a personal care home to a hospital. An interfacility transfer may or may not be insured according to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living policy.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to take a person to the hospital in my car?

In the case of more serious illnesses or injuries, it is always best to keep the person still and in place unless they are in danger of further injury such as on a busy road or near other hazards. Emergency Medical Services have the training to safely assess, stabilize and transport the sick and injured. Paramedics have a variety of diagnostic tools and treatments that they are certified to administer to help the person right away and have a much safer and comfortable trip to the hospital. In the case of minor injuries and illness, you may choose to ride in a car to the health centre or clinic. If you are not sure what is best for a less severe illness or injury, call Health Links-Info Santé at 888-315-9257 for advice.

Why do paramedics sometimes stay on scene for a while instead of taking a person to the hospital right away?

Paramedics and ambulances are equipped with some of the same equipment that you would find in an emergency department. In many cases, diagnostics and treatments are best done prior to transport to help ensure the patient is transported in a stable and comfortable condition as possible.

How do paramedics decide what health centre to take me to?

In most cases, paramedics will take you to the closest available emergency department. Depending on your situation (trauma or stroke), you may be taken to a specialized health centre. Paramedics will explain this to you and base their decision on EMS protocols and what is most appropriate for the patient based on the symptoms.

Why did I get a bill for Emergency Medical Services?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is not an insured service through the Province and is only partially-funded by the provincial government. The service charges you may receive are to pay for the portion not covered by Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. If you do not have insurance, we recommend that you explore this as many insurance plans cover ambulance services at a very reasonable rate.

Where can I look for more information about provincial Emergency Medical Services?

For more information regarding EMS visit,the Province of Manitoba website.

EMS… are you interested?

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Southern Health-Santé Sud Emergency Medical Services team, please visit Career Options.