Medical Emergency Transport and Rescue



If you are ever involved in an accident, are seriously injured or need medical attention, chances are you will be assisted by our Medical Emergency Transport and Rescue Emergency Medical Services team.

What can you expect from the Emergency Medical Services (EMS)?

EMS teams are usually the first medical professionals you will come into contact with should you be injured or fall ill unexpectedly. They offer a reliable 24-hour medical response and pre-hospital service, as well as basic medical assistance at the scene and transport to the nearest health care facility for further treatment.

EMS is divided into three teams:


Each ambulance comes with a full medical kit, including the appropriate medical equipment and medication, plus a stretcher. Skilled medical practitioners work in teams of two per ambulance and provide quality care based on their training, namely, basic life support providers (primary), intermediate life support (secondary) and advanced life support (paramedic). EMS operates 251 ambulance vehicles in our province. 


EMS rescue technicians provide both technical and medical care on the scene of a motor vehicle accident and rescue operation. They specialise in removing patients from wrecked vehicles using the jaws of life, water rescues, and wilderness search and rescue. Each rescue vehicle is fully kitted with power tools and hiking equipment and there are 33 rescue vehicles operating in our province, including Rescue 6 which can remove and lift extremely heavy equipment from accident scenes.


Healthnet provides non-emergency transport to patients between health care facilities (inter-facility transport) as advised and booked by supervisors of provincial health care facilities. Bookings can only be made through a provincial health care facility (hospital/clinic) and patients receive a reference number and date of collection. There are 77 Healthnet vehicles operating in the Western Cape. Go to your nearest provincial health care facility and ask the supervisor on duty to book with Healthnet, as advised by your doctor.

Want to be a part of our rescue teams?

If you’d like to become a paramedic or a volunteer for EMS, here is what you need to do:

Become a volunteer

Volunteers are an important part of the service as they complement EMS. Here you will get first-hand experience in becoming an emergency practitioner.

There are volunteer groups in towns throughout the Western Cape. These groups can be contacted through EMS stations in all six districts, where you would have to contact the applicable district/division of EMS and ask for the co-ordinator of the volunteer programme. You will also need to complete your Basic Ambulance Assistant or Basic Life Support course and obtain your code 10 professional driving permit.

The service will then send you for a written driving authorisation and driving test, and you will will have to complete a set of driving phases, which have to be signed off by the volunteer co-ordinator. This will allow you to eventually drive the ambulances.

Volunteer programme contacts

Western Division (Pinelands) 021 508 4517
Northern Division (Tygerberg) 021 938 6738/40
Eastern Division (Gugulethu) 021 361 6568
Southern Division (Lentegeur) 021 374 2316
West Coast 022 433 8853
Central Karoo 023 414 2603
Overberg 028 425 1907
Cape Winelands 023 346 6028
Eden 044 802 2500


How do I become a paramedic?


Western Cape Government paramedics are trained at the Western Cape College of Emergency Care in Bellville (on the Tygerberg Hospital premises). but there are other private- and government-subsidised institutions that provide Basic Life Support, Intermediate Life Support (ILS) and Advanced Life Support certificate courses. For more information, you can visit the St John Ambulance and Cape Peninsula University of Technology websites. 

How do I become a rescue technician?

The minimum requirement to become a rescue technician is an ILS qualification. If you are a Western Cape Government employee, you can complete the basic rescue technician course at the Western Cape College of Emergency Care in Bellville.

First aid organisations

First aid organisations, including St John Ambulance, SA Red Cross Society Western Cape and SA First Aid League, give back-up assistance to EMS and first aid at sporting and cultural events.

The Air Mercy Services also helps our EMS team by providing air ambulance network, flying doctor and rural health outreach and emergency rescue service to metropolitan areas and remote rural communities. AMS works closely with the provincial departments of health and health workers in the communities to assess needs and implement appropriate health care programmes.

Their work includes airlifting critically injured car crash victims or injured sailors or swimmers at sea, to flying teams of doctors and specialists – many of whom are volunteers to rural communities to provide specialist care.



Reaching our emergency teams

For emergency medical care, phone the National Medical Emergency Number 10177, and an ambulance will be sent out from one of several dispatch centres in the Western Cape.

Dialling 10177: When you call for assistance, please provide the following information:

  • The location (address) of the incident/accident or potential patient. Provide landmarks.
  • The nature of the medical problem/incident. Speak clearly and calmly to the call taker and ensure that it is a real medical emergency as the tying up of resources could lead to the prolonged suffering or death of someone else.
  • Give a contact person's name and cell phone number to the call taker. Ensure that the telephone line is available until the ambulance arrives.

EMS Head Office:    021 948 9908

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)

No one will be refused the service based on capacity to pay. If you are on a medical aid, you will be charged Uniform Patient Fee Rates agreed with the medical aids. If you are not, you will be assessed according to your income and charged accordingly.

The content on this page was last updated on 27 March 2015