Anatomy of a 911 Call
Dispatch record details the 3-hour delay in ambulance response
Last Updated: Feb. 12, 2013
3:14 P.M. Woman's retirement residence calls 911. After the caller & dispatcher run through a series of triage questions, the call is ranked "alpha" - the least urgent level of emergency call. Toronto EMS aims to respond to these calls within 21 minutes.
3:31 P.M. The first ambulance is dispatched to the scene.
3:46 PM The ambulance is diverted to another call.
4:18 P.M. A second ambulance is dispatched
4:20 P.M. EMS calls the retirement residence back. The dispatcher notes "late response due to limited resources"
4:25 P.M. The second ambulance is diverted to another call.
4:31 P.M. More than an hour into her wait, the retirement home inquires: the woman is asking for something to help her cope with the pain. EMS advises "not to give anything at this time".
Between 5:13 and 6:00 P.M. another five ambulances are dispatched and diverted. In the table below, TRUCK refers to ambulances, 10-8 means the unit is en-route, 10-7 means the unit has arrived on scene, and "optima divert dispatch" refers to units being diverted to other calls.
|2821||3:31||--||3:46||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
|4357||4:18||--||4:25||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
|4022||5:13||--||5:22||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
|4240||5:35||--||5:44||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
|1499||5:47||--||5:56||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
|1499||5:58||--||6:00||OPTIMA DIVERT DISPATCH|
6:29 P.M. A call is registered with ambulance dispatch. The woman is "not breathing at all".
6:30 P.M. The woman is "VSA" - vital signs absent
6:31 P.M. The woman's 911 call is now rated an 'echo' level response, the most urgent. Fire and police services are notified. An ambulance arrives on scene in 5 minutes, but the woman is dead.