Information on SCDF and 1777 Medical Services

Purpose of the SCDF Emergency Medical Service

The SCDF operates a 24-hour Emergency Medical Service (EMS), which is ready to answer to any emergency at any part of Singapore. Qualified medical personnel, who are equipped to handle emergencies, man all the ambulances.


The purpose of the EMS is to deal with life-threatening situations. In an emergency, every second counts. If someone is seriously injured in an accident or suddenly collapses, the victim could have serious medical complications if he does not receive treatment fast.


The speedy arrival of an emergency ambulance could mean the difference between life and death for a seriously injured or ill person. EMS should therefore be called during medical emergencies. Calling 995 for non-medical emergencies could cost lives.


If There is an Emergency

When there is an emergency on hand, dial 995 to call for an SCDF ambulance.




What is an Emergency?

An emergency is an illness or injury that could end in death or serious complication if it is not treated immediately. The following is a guide to cases classified as emergencies:

  • Drowsiness or unconsciousness where the person cannot be roused
  • Difficulty in breathing or choking
  • Sudden or severe chest pain
  • Sudden or severe abdominal pain that will not go away
  • Dislocated or broken bones
  • Deep cuts or wounds with profuse bleeding
  • Head injuries that are followed by drowsiness, vomiting, bleeding (from the ears, nose or mouth) or unusual behaviour
  • Injuries to chest, abdomen, pelvis or spine (neck and backbone)
  • Fall from heights
  • Poisoning e.g. inhalation of toxic gases or drug overdose resulting in unconsciousness and respiratory distress
  • Crushed injuries
  • Severe allergy
  • Drowning
  • Burns and scalds -deep with white or charred skin or covering a large area bigger than the size of a hand, or covering the face
  • Any burn caused by electric shock or by lightning


If There is a Non-Emergency

When a case is a non-emergency, the SCDF EMS should not be used. Instead, medical advice can be sought from a family doctor, or a hospital, using your own transport or the public transport system.

Alternatively, dial 1777 for a non-SCDF ambulance.


What is a Non-Emergency?

A non-emergency, on the other hand, does not end in death or serious complication if it is not treated immediately. These could include one of the following:

  • Toothache
  • Slight abdominal pain e.g. gastric
  • Slight fever, coughs and colds
  • Aches and pains which have been present for a long time
  • Minor bruises, slight cuts or broken skin
  • Slight burns or scalds
  • Mild vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation
  • Medical check-up or hospital follow-up



Which Hospital will Patient be Conveyed to?

The SCDF ambulance will convey all emergency cases to the next available and appropriate hospital according to the shortest estimated travelling time. This is to facilitate early treatment by the hospital's doctor and to enable the ambulance to be available earlier for the next emergency call.

SCDF Ambulance Charges

The SCDF does not charge for any emergency case it conveys to hospitals. However, $274 will be charged for each non-emergency case that SCDF ferries to hospital.


Note: The final outcome of the emergency / non-emergency status of a patient will be based on the assessment of the doctor at the Emergency Department of the receiving hospital



1777 Non-Emergency Ambulance Charges

View the capabilities and basic charges of the list of 1777 Private Ambulance Operators

Note: Charges are subjected to additional costs that will be informed by the Private ambulance Operators to the caller/patient


What do I Tell the 995 Control Room Operator?

To facilitate a faster response to the patient, the 995 caller should do the following:

  • Identify yourself and provide a telephone contact number.
  • Provide the location and specific address of the patient found.
  • Describe the patient's signs and symptoms briefly e.g. male, Chinese, age 67 years, having severe chest pain since 2 minutes ago, breathless sweating.
  • Hang up the telephone only after the "995" Control Room Operator does so.
  • Send somebody to wait for the ambulance crew e.g. by holding the lift if necessary, and directing the ambulance crew to the patient.
  • Standby to assist if required.

3 Common Misconceptions That Contribute To The Abuse Of The SCDF Emergency Medical Service

Myth: Patients arriving in SCDF emergency ambulances need not pay
Truth: If a case attended to by the SCDF is deemed to be a non-emergency by its paramedics, the patient will have to pay an ambulance fee of $274.
Myth: Patients can request SCDF emergency ambulances to send them to any hospital of their choice.
Truth: SCDF emergency ambulances will only convey patients to the nearest designated restructured hospitals so that they can receive immediate medical attention.
Myth: Patients arriving in SCDF emergency ambulances receive priority treatment at the A & E Department
Truth: ALL patients arriving at A & E Department will be assessed by the medical staff at the hospital. Those assessed as critical will be attended to first, followed by non-emergency cases.

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Last updated on 8th May 2017