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.