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.
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; the ambulance team, rescue team and Healthnet.
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 be interviewed and then, once you have joined as a volunteer, you will be taken out on ambulance calls.
You will be required to attend Level 1, 2 and 3 first aid courses given by paramedics. In addition, you may be sent for short courses at the Academy of Emergency Medical Care at CPUT.
Volunteer Programme contacts:
How do I Become a paramedic?
EMS government employees are trained at the Western Cape College of Emergency Care in Bellville (on Tygerberg Hospital premises). There are private- and government-subsidised institutions that provide Basic Life Support Certificate (BLS), Intermediate Life Support Certificate (ILS) and Advanced Life Support Certificate (ALS) courses. For more information, you can visit the St John Ambulance website as well as the website of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
How do I become a rescue technician?
The minimum requirement to become a rescue technician is an ILS qualification. If you are a government employee, you can complete the rescue technician course at the Western Cape College of Emergency Care in Bellville. There are private and government subsidised institutions that offer rescue training.
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:
EMS Head Office: 021 948 9908
These facility categories:
|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.
- Calling for Help in an Emergency (Service)
- Red Cross Children's Hospital Poison Line (Service)
- Regulations Governing Ambulance Services in the Western Cape (Guidelines, Manuals and Instructions) (File type: pdf; size: 1012.76 KB)
- Western Cape Ambulance Services Act, 2003 (Act) (File type: pdf; size: 204.5 KB)