Skip to main content



Who will I speak to when I call triple zero (000)?

When you call 000 and ask for an ambulance, you will immediately be put through to a highly trained emergency medical dispatch support officer (EMDSO) at SA Ambulance Service. The EMDSO will ask you some basic questions, such as your address, phone number and information on the medical emergency.

Our EMDSOs are highly skilled in the provision of first aid advice and will be able to talk you through some simple first aid actions you can take to help the patient while an ambulance is on its way.

Remember, in an emergency, call 000 for expert medical assistance.

How long will it take for an ambulance to arrive when I call 000?

This depends on a range of factors. All cases are prioritised on the seriousness of the patient’s condition. We obviously want to get to the most critically ill patients first.



How many staff work for SA Ambulance Service?

SA Ambulance Service has a workforce of around 2600. Some 1100 staff are paid employees including on-the-road staff (e.g. paramedics), staff in our emergency operations centre (who take 000 calls and coordinate ambulance responses) and support services staff such as vehicle maintenance, communications engineering, finance, customer services and much more.

How many volunteers does SA Ambulance Service have?

There are some 1500 volunteer ambulance officers operating in country SA. Around 1300 of our volunteers work on-the-road as volunteer ambulance officers.



Does Medicare cover ambulance cost?

Ambulance costs are not covered by Medicare.

Some private health insurance policies do cover the cost of an ambulance, but it is vital that you read all terms and conditions of your private insurance provider. Many private health insurance schemes only cover you and your family for emergency ambulance services or for a limited number each year.

Many illnesses or injuries require additional patient transportation which are classified as ‘non-emergency’. E.g. for tests, ongoing treatment or transfer to another hospital.

We strongly recommend checking with your private health insurance provider to find out if you are covered for ambulance transport and if so, what level of cover you have.

We encourage all South Australians who are not covered by private health insurance to take out Ambulance Cover.

How can I arrange Ambulance Cover?

Check out our Products and Services section for more information on joining Ambulance Cover or Ambulance Cover Extras.

How much does an ambulance cost?

The expert treatment, transport and medical monitoring provided by ambulance personnel costs over $700 in an emergency. This amount is less in non-emergency cases. 



What will happen when an ambulance arrives?

Paramedics and/or ambulance officers will be dispatched to your emergency.

Taking their patient care kits, they will head straight for the patient. First, they will assess the patient’s condition. They may ask you (the patient or the person who called 000) some background questions to help them get a clearer picture of the situation.

It is important to answer all these questions as best you can. Someone’s life could depend on it.

The paramedics/ambulance officers will then begin providing expert medical assistance to help stabilise the patient and, if necessary, take them to hospital for further treatment.

What kinds of cases do you attend most regularly?

Around one-third of our work is in peoples' homes attending to medical conditions such as respiratory cases, cardiac cases and general unwellness.

Around one-third of our work is transport services (transferring patients from hospital to home, hospital to hospital, nursing home to hospital, etc).

Only 4% of our emergency work is in response to vehicle crashes.



Where did the paramedics/ambulance officers take a patient?

It depends on a range of factors, particularly where the patient was when we attended to them.

We are bound by patient confidentiality laws and highly value and protect the privacy of our patients. We may be able to provide some assistance if you are the relative or close friend of the patient. By calling our Customer Service Centre on 1300 13 62 72 we will help you however we can.

Can I nominate the hospital I go to?

Patients requiring transport to hospital are taken to the nearest appropriate hospital. This will usually be a public hospital.

It is ultimately the decision of the clinical judgement of the paramedic/ambulance officer that identifies a hospital as appropriate. This is based on achieving the optimum clinical outcome for the patient and minimising the transport time of the ambulance.

Can I do a first aid course through SA Ambulance Service?

We do not provide first aid courses. However, we urge everyone in the community to learn first aid. Imagine being able to provide someone you love with life-saving treatment until an ambulance arrived.

We recommend you contact companies such as St John Ambulance Australia or the Red Cross for further information or to book a course.

What is your ABN?

SA Ambulance Service’s ABN is 42875540856.



How many positions are available at SA Ambulance Service?

The following positions are advertised when there are vacancies:

  • Ambulance officers with our Patient Transport and Emergency Support Services
  • Paramedic internships for graduates of the Council of Ambulance Authorities accredited university degrees
  • Emergency medical dispatch support officers
  • Support services (e.g. finance, revenue, customer service)

All calls for positions vacant are advertised in The Advertiser and on

Interstate and overseas qualified paramedics should direct enquiries to

Applications to become a volunteer ambulance officer with SA Ambulance Service are always open. Check out our volunteer section for more information on how to join.

How do I apply for a position?

Current vacancies are always advertised on the SA Health Careers website.

Am I able to choose where I work?

Generally, positions are advertised for specific locations based on where the vacancy is. This could be in Ceduna, the Riverland, Port Augusta, Mount Gambier, metropolitan Adelaide – in many locations across the state.

Our head office is in Adelaide, which is where the majority of our support services staff are based. Our Emergency Operations Centre (where 000 calls are taken) is also based in Adelaide.



Can I bring a handbag or small luggage? 

Yes, one handbag or small bag no larger than the size of commercial flight carry-on luggage is acceptable.

Can I take my walking frame?

Yes, in most instances our paramedics can assist you with the transportation of your walking frame providing it folds down.

Can I take my wheel chair?

Depending on the design of your wheelchair and its size once folded down, our paramedics may be able to assist you with the transportation of your mobility aid. Please note; we cannot guarantee that we will be able to fit your wheelchair. SAAS is working towards having a greater ability to facilitate the carriage of disability aids.

What happens if I have personal items to transport?

In most instances, where safe to do so, SA Ambulance Service can transport a small lightweight carry-on bag (size of commercial flight carry-on luggage) in addition to a folding/collapsible mobility aid and/or walking stick. Please note; it is the responsibility of the discharging facility or other relevant responsible person to make alternative arrangements to ensure all personal items are returned to the patient.


Creative Commons License

The content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence, unless indicated otherwise.
To attribute this material, cite SA Ambulance Service, 2020.