Emergency dispatches in 2016 increased by 4,196
A survey of the 18 Fire-Defense Headquarters in Okinawa found that emergency crews were dispatched 75,599 times in 2016, which is 4,196 (5.9%) more than the previous year.
The survey asked the number of dispatches of “ambulance”, “fire”, “rescue”, and “others” in 2015 and 2016. The results show the number of dispatches increased in all 18 headquarters. Okinawa City sent its emergency crews on mission 7,740 times that is an increase of 607 from the previous year and the largest in relative terms. Naha City had 18,585 missions, an increase of 464, which is the largest ever. Hijagawa Gyouseijimu Kumiai Nirai Headquarters’ that covers the areas of Chatan and Kadena, had 4,844 dispatches that is 402 more than previous year.
The increase in emergency calls from persons over 65 years old was remarkable, increasing by 355 in Okinawa City, and by 330 in Naha.
Another trend highlighted in the survey was that inappropriate calls for an ambulance cause problems in medical and other emergency situations.
17 Headquarters received calls “that were not applicable for emergency,” as in some cases people asked for an ambulance instead of taxi, because they thought going to a hospital in an ambulance would get a doctor to see them quicker.
Takehiro Umemura, the head of the emergency center at Okinawa Nanbu Medical Center, pointed out “There is a limited number of staff in medical institutions. One should think if it’s right to call the ambulance or ask for a medical checkup at midnight before doing such a thing.”