Maynard Police Department

What happens when you call 911 and have a medical emergency?

In 2012 the Massachusetts State 911 Department issued an order to all 911 answering centers, mandating the implementation of EMD. EMD is emergency medical dispatching, it means the 911 operator must give the caller medical instructions prior to the ambulance’s arrival. This is done by following a pre-established protocol that is approved and signed by the medical coordinator responsible for that City/Town.

There is a set of questions that must be asked in order to determine whether the caller can help the patient until the ambulance arrives, as well as determining whether advanced life support services has to be dispatched. In the meantime the ambulance has been dispatched, so asking the questions and going through the instructions is not delaying the response. This means in some cases that if you’re calling 911 for a medical emergency you could speak to up to three (3) operators, depending on whether you’re calling from a cell phone, or a landline.

In Maynard we use a third party resource for EMD, it is done by PRO-EMS (our Advanced Life Support service provider). So once you’re connected to Maynard 911, the dispatcher will take down some information: your name, your call back number, address of the emergency, age of the patient and nature of the medical. Then we will dispatch police and fire units to your emergency, while connecting you with the PRO-EMS dispatcher who will ask you more questions and provide you with directions on what to do until the ambulance arrives.

We understand the frustration you may feel when calling 911 and being asked multiple times the same questions, many times we’re just confirming the information you gave us. The time it takes from when the initial 911 call comes into our center and when we connect you with the EMD is between 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Anne Camaro
Communications Supervisor
Maynard Public Safety