F.A.Q. and Links of Interest

Q: When should I call 911 and request assistance from EMS?
A: You should call 911 and request EMS to respond when you, or someone around you, suddenly becomes ill or injured. These are some examples of situations when you should call 911 and request EMS:
Choking, breathing problems, chest pain, loss of consciousness or altered level of consciousness, suspected diabetic problems, seizures, severe allergic reactions, suspected stroke, motor vehicle collisions with injuries, falls, significant bleeding, assault victims with significant injuries, complications of pregnancy, drug overdose, poisoning, or any other situation that you feel may cause disability or death.
If you’re unsure, call 911 and request EMS.

Q: Does Florence County EMS transport people to doctors’ appointments and dialysis centers?
A: No. If you or someone you know needs transportation to a doctor’s appointment or a dialysis center, check the local telephone listings for “ambulance service”. There are several local companies who specialize in these types of medical transportation.

Q: Why do the call takers at the 911 center ask so many questions? Why don’t they just send an ambulance?
A: After you dial 911, provide the address of the emergency and tell the dispatcher what the emergency is. Once this basic information is provided, an ambulance is dispatched immediately.
After providing the address and type of emergency, you will be asked to answer a series of questions about the situation. Be assured that answering the questions does not delay the ambulance.
Stay calm, speak clearly, and stay on the phone until the call taker advises you to hang up. You may be asked to answer additional questions, or you may be instructed on how to help the person who is ill or injured.
The answers you provide to the dispatchers’ questions determine how many ambulances are sent and if other emergency services, like the fire department or police department are sent along with EMS.

Q: Why does a fire truck respond when I call for an ambulance?
A: EMS and the fire department work together.
There are more fire stations and more firefighters in the county than there are ambulances. In a serious emergency, there is a good chance that the fire department will arrive before the ambulance. Firefighters are trained and equipped to assist the ill or injured until the ambulance arrives.
Firefighters often assist EMS by driving the ambulance or helping the paramedics take care of the person who is ill or injured.

Q: Does Florence County EMS charge a fee for service?
A: Yes.

Q: I received a bill a few days after I was assisted by EMS. I have questions about the bill. Who should I call?
A: Contact the EMS Billing Department during regular business hours at 1-843-665-3011.

Q: Are ambulances allowed to ignore traffic laws and traffic signals?
A: No. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles do not have unrestricted right of way. South Carolina law allows emergency vehicles to operate differently than other motorists. In some cases an ambulances may not have to wait at a red light. Additionally, ambulances are sometimes allowed to exceed the posted speed limit. Regardless of the situation, people who operate emergency vehicles must drive with due regard.

Q: Does Florence County EMS offer CPR or first aid classes?
A: Sometimes. If we have the resources available, we may provide CPR, first aid training and other public education programs. This is currently handled on a case by case basis.
At the present time we do not routinely schedule these classes.
If you have a need for these types of classes, please consider contacting Pee Dee Regional EMS, Inc. or the Continuing Education Division at Florence-Darlington Technical College.

Q: I am potentially interested in working at Florence County EMS. How do I apply?
A: Contact the Florence County Human Resources Department at 843-665-3054. They can let you know if we are accepting applications and how to apply.

Q: What kind of hours do EMS employees work?
A: Full-time Florence County EMS medics work either rotating 12 hour shifts or a modified 24 hours on, 72 hours off schedule, depending on their current assignment. Part-time FCEMS employees work both 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Q: What can I do to help the paramedics when they arrive?
A: If available, have patient’s medications, past medical history, allergies, the primary doctor’s name and the name of the preferred hospital. Having the patient’s identification and health insurance cards is also helpful.

Q: I asked EMS to take me to a specific hospital but that hospital said that they were on “diversion”. What is a hospital diversion?
A: Hospitals may declare that they are on diversion when they do not have enough beds, or staff available to adequately care for patients. The hospital will notify EMS when they are diverting and EMS will transport to the nearest appropriate hospital that will accept the patient.