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OPFFA- Support Faster Response Times


Hello all,

It's time for all of Ontario to share in a new system of emergency dispatch. As a fire fighter, I know that our emergency response system can be better.

We see it every day, system delays, heavy traffic and more calls for help often lead to delays in the arrival of first responders to medical emergencies. 

That's why Ontario's Fire Fighters are calling on the Ontario government to speed up emergency response times through the adoption of province wide simultaneous notification, a system proven to work and recommended by coroner's juries.


Here's the problem with our current system as it stands right now, when a person needing urgent medical assistance calls 9-1-1 only the ambulance service is initially dispatched. The system of sending fire fighters is involved and time consuming in these early seconds, and it is often delayed.

Fire fighters administer life-saving CPR, oxygen, defibrillation, Epi Pen, Narcan and more, and are geographically situated for quicker response. In these situations, the ambulance dispatchers decide whether to notify fire fighters and then make a second call to request that they respond. This makes response times longer because there is no use of automation nor are we sending all first available responders together, it also puts a higher workload on ambulance dispatch services.

We are calling on the Ontario government to speed up response times through a province wide system of Simultaneous Notification: a computer-to-computer link between ambulance and fire department computers. This means that whenever an emergency 911 medical call comes in, the computer systems determine the urgency of the situation and both fire and ambulance services are immediately dispatched without delay. This gets a medical first responder on the scene faster to Ontarians in medical distress.

We simply need to expand upon the system that is currently used by early adopter sites in Mississauga, Brampton, Kitchener, Barrie, and Guelph. The system is in place 24/7 for over 2 million Ontarians and the results have been positive for Ontario pre-hospital emergency care. We want all of Ontario to have similar systems and to be sure these early adopter communities do not have this enhanced system taken away with new computer upgrades by the Ministry of Health.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation reports that for every minute following a cardiac arrest, a patient's survival rate decreases by 7-10% without CPR and defibrillation. In Barrie, an early simultaneous notification site, arrival times were reduced for all medical calls and resulted in fire fighters arriving on scene an average of 2 minutes and 39 seconds before ambulance services 76% of the time.


By highlighting the broad community support for faster response times, we can provide a voice for the people to the Ontario government to take action. We can inform and urge the Ontario government to take action to support Simultaneous Notification, retaining it where it currently exists and implementing it across all of Ontario.

Thank you for your support.


Mark Train
Executive Vice-President 
Ontario's Fire Fighters




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