Parkland Ambulance would like to encourage the public to take extra time to ensure help is actually needed when calling 9-1-1 on behalf of others.
Paramedics responded to 122 incidents over the weekend, with a significant increase of those described as “man down” calls. A “man down” is a call for help for someone sitting in public who appears out of place for the time and area they are in.
“A normal amount of calls we see during the week is two or three, recently we have been seeing two or three times that.” says Lyle Karasiuk, Director of Public Affairs for Parkland Ambulance.
Karasiuk says these incidents could be due to someone slipping and falling, or someone who has fallen asleep trying to hide from the cold.
“You just happened to be driving by and without knowing what happened, you call for help and keep on driving,” Karasiuk said. “Many times, folks just need a hand up and not paramedic’s assistance.”
Parkland Ambulance is asking the public that if they see someone they believe needs help, to pull over and ask if the person is okay from the safety of their car. They would like to encourage the callers to stay at the scene if possible, as sometimes paramedics arrive and find no one present.
“We all want to feel safe in our community. We aren’t saying to look the other way and ignore them. We are saying help us so we can better help other people,” Karasiuk said.
Karasiuk added people need to phone 9-1-1 immediately if they are going to call for help. He said they often respond to calls only to find no one present because the caller drove away from the scene before making a call.
“Giving a vague description to paramedics of what’s wrong when you might have passed the scene two, three, or even five minute ago is not helpful,” he said.