Frequently Asked Questions

People are often very curious as to how the Organisation is run and what we do. Hopefully the following FAQs should help.
Feel free to contact us for more information.

Q: Is HBVEMS a private ambulance service?

A: No, HBVEMS is a volunteer organisation that provides an ambulance for the local community. The service is overseen by Metro EMS (the Provincial Ambulance Service) and all calls are logged through them.

Q: Where does the ambulance work?

A: The ambulance is based in Hout Bay, Cape Town and the majority of our calls come from the local community, including Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu. Should a priority call arise outside of the Valley the ambulance may respond as required.

Q: What qualifications are the crews?

A: Every shift has 3 crew members on board. The driver is usually the most experienced and many of our drivers are trained as Intermediate Life Support (ILS) practicioners. The second and third person will be trained at a Basic Life Support (BLS) level, with the third person being mentored by the seniors. Should a higher level of life support be required backup will be called. This may take the form of a local member or a Metro Response Vehicle with an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic on board. If required a Medical Doctor may be called upon and during the day a helicopter is available for critical transfers. All members are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

Q: Where does the funding come from?

A: The Service is funded by donations from our generous sponsors. The vehicle was donated by Nucleus, local garages sponsor part of the fuel requirements and individuals donate money either on a once off or a recurring basis. The disposable stock is provided by Metro EMS.

Q: Are the crew members paid for their time?

A: No. All of the crews work on a voluntary basis. They also provide much of their own equipment such as jumpbags, stethoscopes, uniforms and personal safety gear.

Q: What calls do you deal with most often?

A: Crews deal with everything from car crashes to heart attacks, drownings to chronic illnesses. Common calls include assaults, respiratory distress and chronic illness.

Q: How can I join?

A: To work on the ambulance you need to have completed your Basic Ambulance Assistants course and be registered with the HPCSA as a BLS medic. Both St Johns (021 461-8420) and Ambutek offer the BAA course. Cape Peninsula University of Technology offer a number of emergency medicine degrees.