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What is a blue call ambulance?

What is a blue call ambulance?

A blue call ambulance refers to an emergency ambulance dispatched to provide urgent medical care and transportation for a patient in need. The “blue call” designation indicates that it is a high priority response to a life-threatening or critical medical situation. Some key aspects of a blue call ambulance include:

When a Blue Call Ambulance is Dispatched

A blue call ambulance is dispatched when someone contacts emergency services to report a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. Situations warranting a blue call ambulance include:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory distress or failure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe trauma from an accident or injury
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis
  • Childbirth complications

In essence, any acute medical crisis where a rapid emergency response is crucial for the patient’s survival and recovery. The faster an ambulance can reach the scene and provide advanced life support, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Staffing and Equipment in a Blue Call Ambulance

A blue call ambulance is specially equipped and staffed to provide urgent pre-hospital emergency care. Key features include:

  • At least one paramedic trained in advanced life support (ALS)
  • An emergency medical technician (EMT) driver
  • Sirens, lights, and other warning devices to rapidly clear traffic
  • Advanced medical equipment like:
    • Cardiac monitor/defibrillator
    • Ventilator
    • IV fluids and medications
    • Emergency trauma supplies

This allows critical medical interventions to begin immediately, rather than having to wait until the patient reaches the emergency room.

Communication and Coordination

The dispatch of a blue call ambulance triggers a coordinated emergency response:

  • The dispatcher gathers key details about the patient’s condition and location.
  • The closest available ambulance is urgently dispatched to the scene.
  • The crew is updated en route about the situation to prepare.
  • Other emergency services may be alerted to assist, like fire or police.
  • The hospital is notified that a critical patient is on the way.
  • On-scene paramedics provide updates and requests for additional resources.

This communication facilitates a rapid, streamlined response to maximize the patient’s chance of survival.

Transport to Definitive Care

Once initial medical care is provided, the blue call ambulance rushes the patient to the closest, most appropriate hospital facility for definitive treatment. This may involve:

  • Cardiac or trauma centers for critical patients
  • Perinatal centers for pregnancy complications
  • Stroke or burn centers based on needs
  • Pediatric hospitals for children

Some key factors in transportation:

  • Using lights and sirens to safely clear traffic
  • Driving at high speeds when feasible
  • Ongoing medical treatment and monitoring en route
  • Radio communication with the hospital
  • Transfer of care upon hospital arrival

When NOT to Call a Blue Call Ambulance

While blue call ambulances provide crucial, lifesaving care for emergencies, it’s important not to call one for non-life-threatening situations. Examples of when to avoid a blue call include:

  • Minor injuries like small cuts, scrapes, or bruises
  • Mild illnesses like colds, flu, sore throat
  • Medication refills or small prescription needs
  • Routine doctors appointments or dialysis visits
  • Transport home from outpatient procedures

Using an ambulance in these situations takes away critical resources from those experiencing medical emergencies. Other options include:

  • Seeing a primary care doctor
  • Going to an urgent care or walk-in clinic
  • Using a non-emergency medical transport service
  • Having a friend or family member drive you
  • Taking a taxi or rideshare service

However, if the situation worsens or becomes an emergency, do not hesitate to call for a blue call ambulance at that time.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Blue call ambulances provide life-saving care, but the service comes at a cost. Here are some key considerations regarding cost and insurance coverage:

  • Ambulance costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Many health insurance plans cover a portion of emergency ambulance transportation.
  • Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers have different copays and cost share amounts.
  • Uninsured patients may face the full cost unless there are financial assistance programs.
  • Any costs not covered by insurance become the patient’s responsibility.
Payer Type Typical Coverage Patient Responsibility
Medicare Covers 80% of approved amount after deductible met Remaining 20% plus any unpaid deductible
Medicaid Covers emergency transport; copay varies by state Any copay required by that state
Private Insurance Varies by plan; may pay 70-90% after deductible Remaining percentage plus any deductible
Uninsured Not covered Potentially full ambulance cost

To avoid large surprise bills, it helps to be aware of your insurance coverage for ambulance services before an emergency occurs. Know your deductibles, copays, network providers, and financial options if uninsured.

When to Call 911 for a Blue Call Ambulance

If you or a loved one experiences a major medical emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 and request a blue call ambulance. Look for any of the following signs:

  • Unresponsiveness or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain, numbness, or severe sudden headache
  • Major trauma or severe injuries
  • Heavy bleeding that won’t stop
  • Severe stomach pain or vomiting
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or loss of vision
  • Severe burns
  • Possible heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm
  • Major broken bones

Provide the call-taker with clear details on the location, what happened, number of people injured, and a callback number. Answer all questions as best you can. Stay on the line until help arrives.

Alternatives to Calling 911

For less critical situations, consider alternatives to calling 911 for an ambulance:

  • Urgent care – For new injuries, infections, and illnesses needing prompt care
  • Walk-in clinic – For minor illnesses and injuries on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Telemedicine – Virtual care and prescriptions for minor conditions
  • Nurse advice hotline – Speak to a nurse to help evaluate your symptoms and next steps
  • Doctor’s office – Make an appointment with your regular provider
  • Medical transport – For stable patients needing medical supervision to appointments

However, if you ever feel the situation is truly a life-or-death emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 right away.

What Happens After Calling 911

Here is a general overview of what you can expect after calling 911 for a blue call ambulance emergency:

  1. The 911 call-taker gathers information about the emergency and location.
  2. An ambulance is immediately dispatched from the closest station, using lights and sirens.
  3. Emergency personnel are simultaneously dispatched (ex: law enforcement or fire).
  4. 911 remains on the phone to provide instructions and gain additional details.
  5. The ambulance crew contacts dispatch en route to prepare for the scene.
  6. Law enforcement may arrive first to ensure scene safety.
  7. The ambulance crew arrives, enters the scene, and takes over care.
  8. Emergency treatment begins based on the patient’s condition and needs.
  9. The team determines whether to transport to the closest ER or a specialty center.
  10. Transport is rapidly initiated while treatment continues en route.

Throughout the process, emergency personnel coordinate response efforts through centralized dispatch for the fastest, highest quality care possible.

Preparing for a Blue Call Ambulance Response

Here are some tips to be prepared in the event you or a loved one requires a blue call ambulance:

  • Keep your address clearly visible to aid responders.
  • Clear paths and access points to the patient.
  • Unlock doors and gates for easy access.
  • Move furniture if space is needed to access or move the patient.
  • Gather relevant medical history, medications, and insurance details.
  • Pack an overnight bag in case of hospital admission.
  • Remain calm and follow emergency crew instructions.
  • Provide additional details to 911 as able.
  • Arrange for child or elder care if needed.
  • Follow up with your health providers after discharge.

Proper preparation can help emergency responders provide optimal medical care without delays on scene. Staying calm and following EMS instructions also facilitates the process.


A blue call ambulance provides urgent, often life-saving emergency care and transportation for critical medical crises. Understanding when to appropriately call for a blue response versus seeking alternative options for less severe issues allows the pre-hospital care system to rapidly aid those most in need. With quick recognition of symptoms, rapidly contacting 911, proper preparation for responding crews, and prudent use of ambulance services, patients have the greatest chance for positive outcomes in an emergency. Utilizing blue call ambulances for their intended purpose – treating immediately life-threatening conditions – ensures these crucial resources are available for the patients who need them most.