The Tokyo Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Monday that the number of cases in which ambulances were called in 2016 was 777,427. That is the highest number since 1936 when the agency started its ambulance service, and the seventh year in a row that the number of calls has increased.
The agency attributed the increase to the greater number of elderly people in Japan; 246,263 people, roughly one third of those who called for an ambulance last year, were aged 75 and older, compared to 150,000 in 2007.
Another factor is that 54.9% of last year’s calls were not emergencies but light injuries that did not require hospitalization. This includes those who “did not know which hospital to go to” or “didn’t want to pay for a taxi," the agency said.
The agency has called on the public to make proper use of the ambulance service so that those who really need it will be able to receive the necessary first aid. They advise people to first call #7119, a service where they can consult with a staff member who will evaluate their symptoms and decide whether or not the caller really needs an ambulance.© Japan Today