Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

Article posted on December 20, 2016

Calgary EMS Dispatch Model Update

Alberta Health Services and the City Of Calgary have reached an agreement in principle for the provision of patient-centred EMS dispatch services, designed to improve patient outcomes.

AHS currently operates three communications centres for EMS dispatch: the Northern Communications Centre in Peace River, the Central Communications Centre in Edmonton, and the Southern Communications Centre (SCC) in Calgary.

In addition, three satellite dispatch centres operate in Fort McMurray (run by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo), Red Deer (run by the City of Red Deer) and soon in Lethbridge (run by the City of Lethbridge).

The SCC is unique in that most of its work – the dispatching of EMS services in Calgary and 77 other municipalities – is currently contracted to the City of Calgary. Under the new agreement, EMS calls from all the 77 municipalities currently served by the City – will be received and dispatched by AHS.

The agreement, starting April 1, 2017, sees the City maintain dispatch services for EMS 911 calls made inside Calgary city limits. EMS calls from other areas currently served by the City of Calgary will be dispatched by AHS, including all inter-facility transfers.

Under the new agreement, the City of Calgary will use AHS technology, such as dispatch software and telephony. This cooperation and collaboration means the City can dispatch local EMS services, while being connected with a broader provincial dispatch model.

Transition to one provincial EMS dispatch system was recommended by the Health Quality Council of Alberta, to improve quality and patient care. Benefits include:

  • The ability to track every ambulance, in real time.
  • Improved efficiency and coordination of ambulance resources.
  • Dispatch centres will be able to back each other up seamlessly in case of an outage, or in exceptional circumstances where demand increases in one centre, such as during a large emergency event.

We look forward to ongoing collaboration with municipal partners and the Government to ensure public safety for all Albertans. 

For further information, please contact: Jim Garland, Associate Executive Director, EMS Dispatch Communications and Deployment, (780) 407-4088.

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada