Priority Dispatch

Pinellas Regional 9-1-1 Center logo

Pinellas Regional 9-1-1- Center uses priority dispatch protocols from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch to process 9-1-1 calls and dispatch units.

What is Priority Dispatch?

  • Priority Dispatch determines the appropriate response to each emergency and non-emergency 9-1-1 call.
  • Specially trained 9-1-1 telecommunicators, certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, dispatch units according to national guidelines and local protocol.
  • In many cases, multiple emergency vehicles such as – a fire engine or rescue unit and an ambulance – will respond to a 9-1-1 emergency.
  • In potentially life-threatening situations, units will respond with the lights and sirens turned on.

In non-emergency situations, this type of response is not necessary and multiple emergency vehicles do not need to respond. In these cases, one vehicle can handle the call safely and effectively.

How It Works

  • The 9-1-1 telecommunicator takes the call from a citizen or visitor.
  • The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch protocols are followed to determine the type and number of responder vehicles that should be dispatched.
  • There are guidelines for which situations warrant a particular response. The 9-1-1 telecommunicator must ask several questions to determine the response and what type of instructions should be given before units arrive. Please be patient with this process to ensure the correct response is dispatched.
  • The 9-1-1 telecommunicator will assess each and every case on an individual basis. Some units may be downgraded (respond non-emergency) if the situation appears to be non-life threatening based on the answer to the questions. The telecommunicator will upgrade units if the caller says that the situation is getting worse.
  • Once on the scene, the first arriving unit quickly assesses the situation and the call can be “upgraded” (additional resources requested) or “downgraded” (resources that are not needed are canceled).