Answers to common questions about AHS EMS dispatch

October 20, 2020

EDMONTON — Following a review by the Health Minister, AHS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is moving forward with plans to consolidate 911 EMS dispatch services.

Beginning early next year, four municipally-run EMS dispatch sites — Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Municipality of Wood Buffalo — will be consolidated into three AHS-run dispatch sites: the Northern Communications Centre in Peace River, the Southern Communications Centre in Calgary, and the Central Communications Centre in Edmonton.

Albertans will notice no change when they call 911 for emergency services. AHS answers incoming emergency EMS calls within 10 seconds, 95 per cent of the time. Ambulance response times will not change, ambulances will not be delayed, and medical first response through fire departments will continue exactly as it does today.

Why is this transition necessary?

How will this transition change how 911 calls are answered in these municipalities?

Why is this happening now?

Will the AHS communications centres be able to handle the additional call volume from Calgary and other municipalities?

What will happen to the staff currently doing the work in the four municipal centres?

Will this transition will have a negative impact on the dispatching of fire/rescue or medical first response (MFR)?

Does this transition increase risk to EMS and fire responders?

Aren’t dispatchers in a local city dispatch centre more knowledgeable about local addresses and geography?

Isn’t it better to have dispatchers for fire, police and EMS all in the same room so they can ‘twist and shout’ to talk to each other in person?

Has AHS done any consultation with the communities affected by this transition?

Where can I get more information?

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.