9-1-1 Dispatch Centers and Emergency Medical Dispatch


All EMS units in the County of El Dorado are dispatched from two 911 emergency communication centers. On the Western Slope, 911 calls for medical emergencies initially received by the Sheriff's Department are immediately routed to the CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry) dispatch center in Camino. In the South Lake Tahoe area, calls are received directly by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department dispatch center in South Lake Tahoe.

Dispatchers at both centers are trained in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols. They will query a caller and, if necessary, provide special medical instructions to assist the patient before emergency responders arrive. These highly-trained and dedicated individuals are the key first step in accessing the County of El Dorado's EMS System.

CAL FIRE Dispatch at CaminoSouth Lake Tahoe Dispatch Center

Emergency Medical Dispatch

El Dorado County has two dispatch centers that operate under medically-approved "Emergency Medical Dispatch" (EMD) protocols. EMD includes determining the type of medical emergency and providing "pre-arrival instructions" to callers when indicated. Since not all 911 calls are true emergencies, EMD also allows the most appropriate EMS resources to be sent to the scene. In some cases, based on information received by the call taker, a fire department first responder unit may be dispatched with red lights and siren (Code 3) while the ambulance is sent without red lights and siren (Code 2). This system of "tiered response" provides enhanced safety for both EMS personnel and the public.

Eleven specific call types have been identified to which an ambulance will be initially dispatched Code 2 for calls on the Western Slope. Personnel are strongly encouraged to fill out a Tiered Dispatch QI Form(PDF, 44KB) and fax it to the Camino ECC when a patient's condition or other factors indicate the call was not appropriate for a Code 2 response.

The following call types have been approved for a Code 2 response by ambulance.

Dispatch Code Call Type Alpha Determinant(s)
3 Animal Bites/Attacks 3-A-1: Not Dangerous body area
3-A-2: Non-Recent injuries (> 6hrs)
3-A-3: Superficial bites
5 Back Pain 5-A-1: Non-Traumatic back pain
5-A-2: Non-recent traumatic back pain (> 6hrs)
13 Diabetic Problems 13-A-1: Alert and behaving normally
17 Fall 17-A-1: Not Dangerous body area
17-A-2: Non-Recent (> 6hrs) injuries (without priority symptoms)
20 Heat/Cold Exposure 20-A-1: Alert
21 Hemorrhage/Laceration 21-A-1: Not Dangerous hemorrhage
21-A-2: Minor hemorrhage
26 Sick 26-A-1: No priority symptoms (complaint conditions 2-28 not identified)
26-A-2-28: Non-Priority complaints
30 Traumatic Injury 30-A-1: Not Dangerous body area
30-A-2: Non-Recent injuries (> 6hrs)
31 Unconscious/Fainting 31-A-1 Single or near fainting episode and alert <35

All calls dispatched "Code 2" per EMD protocols, and those when the ambulance is dispatched to a staging location to standby for law enforcement units to secure the scene, are exempt from response time requirements.