Emergency Medical Dispatch

There are over 700,000 9-1-1 calls received annually by the 24 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the state of Maine. Many of the calls are requests for emergency medical assistance. Over 480 public safety telecommunicators, licensed as Emergency Medical Dispatchers serve our state in 29 different EMD centers by receiving, processing, and dispatching such calls. These public servants deserve immense praise for their contributions to the public’s health and safety.

What is a PSAP?

A Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) is a facility, operated on a 24-hour basis, that is assigned the responsibility of receiving 9-1-1 calls. When appropriate, the PSAP will directly dispatch emergency services or, through transfer routing or relay routing, pass 9-1-1 calls to public or private safety agencies.  Currently, there are 24 PSAPs in Maine.

Each PSAP has between two and 13 Answering Position Units (APUs) that receive wireline and wireless 9-1-1 emergency calls. The APU displays the name, address and callback number of a wireline caller. In the case of a wireless caller, the system displays the address of the wireless tower that delivered the call, the caller's cell phone number, and possibly, the approximate location of the caller. The equipment also handles calls from VoIP callers and Text to 9-1-1.

What is EMD?

Emergency Medical Dispatch is a systematic program of handling medical calls. Trained and licensedtelecommunicators, using Maine State approved EMD Guidecards, quickly and properly determine the nature and priority of the call, dispatch the appropriate response, then give the caller instructions to help treat the patient until the responding EMS unit arrives.  EMD is a protocol-based medical call management system used by Maine’s 9-1-1 Centers to process calls for medical assistance. The EMD system helps ensure that all calls for emergency medical services (EMS) are handled in a professional, consistent manner and that vital information is collected during each call.

Emergency Medical Dispatchers are the "first" first responders; providing callers with instructions on how to provide immediate lifesaving interventions, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), control bleeding, or deliver a baby.  At the same time, they communicate with responders, providing critical information, locations and hazards.

Maine EMS Priority Dispatch Implementation Guide (PDF)