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Ambulance services call priority

Emergency medical dispatchers answer 9-1-1 calls and direct medical calls to a health communication centre. In the health communication centre, the emergency medical dispatcher asks simple questions and use a prioritization system to quickly determine the nature of the situation and establish the priority of dispatch of ambulance services and first responders.

High priority calls

When the call is high priority, the dispatcher contacts paramedics within seconds and informs them that they must respond. They do the same with the first responder service when there is a first responder service in the municipality concerned. Ambulance attendants drive to the scene using the siren and flashing lights as required.

Lower priority calls

When the call is lower priority, that is, when the dispatcher considers that the life of the person concerned is not in immediate danger, paramedics are informed and usually drive to the scene without using the flashing lights or the siren. They may also be reassigned and required to drive to the scene of another emergency. This might happen if the dispatcher receives a high priority call in the meantime and no other ambulance is available. A person whose condition does not present an immediate danger may have to wait until another ambulance is free.

Last update: February 8, 2021


Information on the website in no way replaces the opinion of a health professional. If you have questions concerning your health status, consult a professional.


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