TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The National Fire Agency (NFA) released statistics on ambulance use in Taiwan today, and urged the public to only call for an ambulance in times of emergency, reported CNA.
The NFA said in a statement that recent years have seen increased demand for ambulances, with some of the population thinking of them as “free taxis. ”
A total of 1,100,323 incidents were attended by ambulance crews across Taiwan last year, or 3,015 per day. This figure represents a three-fold increase since 1998.
To motivate the public to only request an ambulance in a time of emergency, 10 municipalities have imposed a NT$1,800 (US$58.50) fine for non-emergency use. Last year, 138 people were charged for improper use, and 113 so far this year.
Secretary General of the NFA, Feng Chun-I (馮俊益) said cases involving improper use of emergency services were evident, and gave examples including drunkenness, minor injuries and trauma, common colds, and toothaches. He called on the public to take alternative means of transport to the hospital if the issue is minor.
The statistics reveal the most common causes for an ambulance were car accidents, accounting for 37.1 percent of all incidents, followed by “emergency cases” which accounted for 35.92 percent. General trauma and fall-related injuries was ranked third, totaling 10.28 percent of responses.
The 10 municipalities who can charge for incorrect use of an ambulance are Chiayi City, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Hualien County, Kaohsiung City, Miaoli County, Pingtung County, Taichung City, Taipei City, and Taoyuan City.