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Public Safety

Emergency Medical Dispatch Program


     Armstrong County uses the APCO EMD protocols. EMD is an abbreviation for Emergency Medical Dispatch, a set of pre-established written protocols that dispatchers use to assist a caller when reporting a medical emergency.  Our APCO protocols have been customized for the residents of Armstrong County and have been approved by the Armstrong County Memorial Hospital Medical Director.


     When a person calls 911 to request an ambulance, the dispatcher will ask basic questions such as location and chief complaint.  The chief complaint is used to select the proper Call For Service (CFS) code which is entered into the CAD system causing a run card to be displayed.  The run card tells the dispatcher which emergency responder should be dispatched.  Once the initial dispatch is made, the dispatcher will then ask a series of additional questions from the EMD cards.  Based on your response to those questions, the EMD cards will provide the dispatcher with defined pre-arrival instructions that will be given to you to help stabilize the patient.


     EMD instructions may be as general as "keep the patient comfortable and call back if the patient's condition changes" to very explicit directions on how to perform CPR or deliver a baby.


     If you are the caller, please understand that the dispatchers are trained to differentiate between "routine" emergencies and true "life and death" emergencies.  If you are experiencing a true "life and death" emergency, rest assured that while the dispatcher is asking these questions and giving you pre-arrival instructions, another dispatcher is already dispatching the emergency responders.  Often times, the responders will be on the road before the call is disconnected.