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April 28, 2008
Toronto achieves excellence in 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatch
Earlier today, the Toronto Emergency Medical Services’ Central Ambulance Communications Centre received accreditation as a Centre of Excellence by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.

The City of Toronto uses the Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS), the most advanced tool available for determining the priority of a 9-1-1-call and providing the caller with life-saving medical instructions. In addition, accreditation as a Centre of Excellence ensures that each month, 450 calls to 9-1-1 are randomly audited, with Emergency Medical Dispatchers receiving ongoing feedback to ensure that every 9-1-1 call for a medical emergency in Toronto is handled professionally according to the most effective, medically-driven guidelines available.

The AMPDS system is used in 23 countries throughout the world, and is translated into 10 languages. However, only 122 communications centres in the world are accredited to meet the highest international benchmark for quality. With today’s announcement, Toronto has become the second largest ambulance service in the world to gain this status, after London, England.

Scott Freitag, President of the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, presented the award today at Toronto EMS headquarters. “The citizens and visitors to this great city should understand that when they call 9-1-1, they will be treated by, listened to, and given care by, the most dedicated and professional Emergency Medical Dispatchers in the world,” said Freitag.

Today’s accomplishment says much about how the job of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher has changed. While in the past dispatchers gathered information and co-ordinated the movement of ambulances, now it is recognized that they are truly the first point of contact in a medical emergency and can give life-saving instructions over the phone before the ambulance arrives. When appropriate, Emergency Medical Dispatchers now use information from AMPDS to instruct the caller in providing immediate intervention for choking, cardiac arrest, imminent birth and other medical emergencies before the paramedics arrive.

In achieving today’s accreditation, Toronto joins the ranks of the most outstanding ambulance communications centres in the world, including the cities of Edmonton, Miami, Dublin, and London, England as well as the Scottish and Welsh ambulance services.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Toronto EMS - Lyla Miller 416-392-2255,
Dave Ralph 416-629-6262 (cell)



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