The Sault Ste. Marie Paramedic Services division is led by two deputy chiefs and 4 commanders. There are 64 primary care paramedics (PCP) that respond to approximately 18,000 calls per year. Paramedics are qualified and trained to assess, treat and transport patients with a range of symptoms. Calls are classified by the Central Ambulance Communications Centre. Call classifications are as follows:
- Priority 1 ‘Deferrable’: This refers to a NON‐URGENT call that does not have an associated time element (e.g., a patient being transferred from hospital to a long‐term care facility). Such calls may be temporarily delayed without being physically detrimental to the patient.
- Priority 2 ‘Scheduled’: This refers to a NON‐URGENT call that does have an associated time element (e.g., a patient transport from one hospital to another for a scheduled diagnostic, treatment or other form of medical appointment). The time element is not set by patient convenience, but rather by the availability of the resources at the receiving facility.
- Priority 3 ‘Prompt’: This refers to an URGENT but NON LIFE‐THREATENING call, where a moderate delay will not adversely affect the outcome (e.g., a patient under professional care who is stable and not in immediate danger, who requires transport to hospital for additional treatment). For such calls, ambulances are dispatched without lights and siren.
- Priority 4 ‘Urgent’: This refers to a call where the patient has a LIFE‐THREATENING or potential life‐threatening condition, where a delay in medical intervention and transport can have an adverse effect on outcome (e.g., a patient with acute chest pain or serious trauma). For such calls, a rapid response is crucial, and ambulances are dispatched with flashing lights and siren.