Santa Rosa County's emergency medical system is a two-tiered system.
The first tier is comprised of “First Responders” such as fire departments, beach lifeguards and law enforcement officers. These first responders provide emergency medical care until the second tier arrives.
The second tier is the ambulance service responsible for taking over the care of the patient and transportation to the appropriate medical facility. Santa Rosa County contracts with Lifeguard Ambulance Service for emergency and non-emergency medical transport. All contract ambulance services are provided at the EMT-Paramedic level. It is a performance based contract using a measurement format of fractile response times verses average response times. This means the ambulance service must meet requirements set for urban and rural areas with 90% reliability.
Contract Response Times
Call levels are determined by the dispatch center using the Medical Priority Dispatch System, which provides the dispatcher with predetermined questions to ask the caller and based on the answers, the calls are assigned a response determinant of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta or Echo. Alpha determinants are calls where the patient does not have any life-threatening symptoms. Echo determinants are the highest level and are assigned when the patient is experiencing symptoms needing immediate care.
Patient care will start by the dispatcher providing instructions to the caller to assist the patient while the ambulance and first responders are en route. This procedure does not delay the dispatching of the emergency responders who are being radio activated by another dispatcher. To further enhance the system, Lifeguard Ambulance uses a systematic posting procedure that allows ambulances to move to different posts depending on call location to cover the county more effectively. Compliance is monitored and all calls not meeting the required response time are reviewed by Lifeguard Supervisors and Santa Rosa County staff.