News & Announcements

Dispatch Change for Psychiatric/Violent/Suicide Calls

During the week of August 11, 2014, a dispatch of psychiatric/abnormal behavior and suicide attempt calls will change. Initial dispatch of these calls will be at the Priority 3 response recommendation. This means, for the first time ever, that responders will hear Priority 2 Alpha, Bravo and Delta dispatches. This signifies that responders need to stage, according to individual agency policy for such, until advised that the scene is secure. A couple additional caveats to be aware of:

  • Once the scene is secure, Communications will advise responding units. They will also upgrade the call to the response it would have been assigned initially had the scene been secure.
  • Keep in mind that, per policy, Priority 3 calls do not roll over into the Mutual Aid Plan. If you know your agency will not be able to respond to a Priority 3 dispatch, someone from your agency should request MA be activated. Once the call is upgraded (i.e., when the scene has been secured), the MA clock starts and the call will be processed using the usual MA timing.

Contact County EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy with any questions or concerns.

Cyanokit Deployment for Fire Victims

Saratoga County has purchased ten Cyanokits and strategically deployed them around the County. Cyanokits are an antidote for cyanide poisoning, thought to be the leading cause of death in fire victims. Two kits each are presently available in Clifton Park-Halfmoon, Malta, Community, Wilton and Moreau. Please consider calling one of these agencies for a Cyanokit for any arrested patient pulled out from a structure fire or for any firefighter who collapses in arrest during or after interior structural firefighting activities. Our resuscitation rate for fire victims in Saratoga County is dismal – near zero. A study using the Cyanokit over an 8 year period in Paris shows that we may be able to revive more than half of our fire scene victims with this new antidote. If you have an arrest at a fire scene, please call for an agency with a Cyanokit. For more information on Cyanokit, visit

Chemical Assisted Suicide Responder Reference Released

The HazMat Fusion Center recently released a Chemical Assisted Suicide Responder Reference to aid emergency responders in recognizing and managing chemical suicides. These incidents are happening with increasing frequency across the Country. It is not a question of if, but when, we will see our first of these in Saratoga County. Multiple occurrences throughout New York State have had serious health consequences for responders. EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy strongly recommends that all services laminate this reference card and place one in each of their response vehicles. Let’s not lose an EMS provider for failing to keep abreast of the dangers we all face out there!

Dispatch Protocol Change

In October, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department switched to ProQA, a computerized version of the Medical Priority Dispatch cards used to process EMS calls. This will allow implementation of several new dispatch protocols, some not previously available. The first is Protocol 33, the Transfer/Interfacility/Palliative Care protocol. Calls from medical facilities such as doctor’s offices or nursing homes where the patient is being cared for by a nurse or physician will be processed using Card 33. Patients not arresting or post-resuscitation who, in the opinion of the healthcare provider do not require a Priority One response, will now be dispatched as a Priority 2-Alpha response. This change will more efficiently screen calls from medical facilities and significantly decrease inappropriate dispatch of first responders to healthcare locations. Healthcare facilities have long requested that we accept their professional appraisal of the need for emergency versus non-emergency responses. Now, we can. It is important to advise crews of this change as there is a tendency to associate the response determinant (i.e., Alpha) with a non-acute patient. Using Card 33, the only thing that an Alpha determinant tells you is that healthcare professionals are currently caring for the patient and do not require immediate assistance. It in no way implies that the patient does not require ALS or extra manpower. If you are unsure of what additional resources may be needed, please ask EMS Dispatch. One of the caller questions elicits needs for special equipment (such as a bariatric stretcher or helicopter) and another question determines whether additional personnel (such as ALS providers) are necessary. Please refer any questions to Mike McEvoy, EMS-1 at