Changes coming to 911 system prioritization

Cornwall SDG paramedics

SDG COUNTIES, Ontario - New protocols are being created that will prioritize 911 calls in our region, based on the severity of the condition of patients. Ambulances in our region will be dispatched to calls based on a new triage system that works to ensure the sickest people get the fastest response from paramedics.

The Cornwall/SDG Paramedic Service, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other partners, will implement changes to its 911 dispatch system on April 10, 2024, at 9 p.m. 

Under the new system, priority/life-threatening calls will be assigned the closest ambulance, while others will be managed by the designated paramedic service for their respective area. In cases where ambulance resources are not immediately accessible, patients with non-time-sensitive and low-risk situations will be advised to wait, with appropriate medical intervention being provided in the interim.

The new priority categories for 911 system are colour-coded.

"The introduction of five distinct priority categories - purple, red, orange, yellow, and green - allows us to efficiently allocate resources based on the severity of the medical emergency. This ensures that critical cases, identified as purple or red, receive immediate attention, irrespective of jurisdiction," said Bill Lister, chief of the Cornwall/SDG Paramedic Service.
Regular callbacks will maintain continuous communication until an ambulance arrives, and updates on adverse changes to medical conditions will be actively encouraged – if those occur, prioritization will change.

"Continuous monitoring and data-driven improvements will be integral to the success of this system," said Lister. "We are dedicated to ensuring that our emergency response evolves with the latest scientific data and best practices. This upgrade to our 911 system will improve our emergency response and prioritize the well-being of our community members.” 
The Cornwall SDG Paramedic Service is committed to enhancing the service it provides to the people it serves. The changes to the 911 dispatch system are a crucial step towards a more efficient and responsive emergency response network.