Meeting Date: April 18, 2007

Subject: Staff Response to Commission Inquiry - Emergency Services Response Times


Chair Giambrone submitted a communication dated February 21, 2007 entitled “Emergency Services Response Time”. The Commission referred the communication to staff for report, in consultation with Toronto Emergency Management Services (EMS), on plans for improving emergency response times on the system, with particular emphasis on the subway lines.


A joint meeting was held on Friday, March 9, 2007 between Rick Cornacchia and Paul Millett from TTC and Paul Raftis, Norm Lambert and Gary Thorne from EMS.

At the meeting, TTC staff provided EMS staff with an analysis of subway calls requiring EMS attendance for 2006. During 2006 there were 733 incidents during which EMS responded to the subway for ill or injured patrons. The delay to subway service was nine minutes or less in over 90% of these incidents. In approximately 3% of the incidents, however, the delays to subway service were 15 minutes or greater which resulted in significant service impacts.

EMS staff explained that response times can vary significantly depending on the nature of the call. Due to the risk to EMS staff and the public associated with priority calls requiring lights and sirens, these types of responses are limited to life-threatening incidents only. In non-life threatening incidents response times are subject to the proximity of the EMS crew and traffic conditions. In addition, a crew responding to a subway call could be redirected if they are in the vicinity of a higher priority call.

The two areas that were identified which may help reduce subway delays are improved information provided by TTC Despatchers to EMS Communications Centre and an increased awareness to EMS staff of the impacts of subway delays. EMS agreed to review the TTC Despatchers’ procedures for collecting and communicating information in incidents involving ill or injured patrons. TTC agreed to provide EMS with material to help raise the awareness of EMS staff to the impacts of subway delays.

TTC and EMS felt that an educational program for TTC Despatchers and EMS Communications Centre staff would be beneficial. It was agreed that an exchange program would be initiated to provide TTC personnel with an overview of the EMS Communications Centre and EMS personnel with an overview of TTC Transit Control Centre.

Interim Chief General Manager