Ambulance Response Times

In Sioux Falls, 911 ambulance calls are processed by Metro Communications (the 911 center). By contract, ambulance response times are measured from the time the ambulance has been given the information they need to respond until the ambulance is on the scene. 911 calls are prioritized into three categories.

  • Priority 1 calls are life-threatening emergencies. The ambulance must respond to at least 90% of those calls in 8 minutes, 59 seconds or less.
  • Priority 2 calls are non-life threatening emergencies. The ambulance must respond to at least 90% of Priority 2 calls in 11 minutes and 59 seconds or less.
  • Priority 3 calls are non-emergencies. The ambulance must respond to at least 90% of Priority 3 calls in 15 minutes and 59 seconds or less.


By contract, certain calls can be exempt or excepted from response time standards. Exceptions may include:

  • incorrect dispatch information
  • disrupted communications
  • mobile data terminal failure
  • change in dispatch location
  • non-existent address
  • weather so severe that response times are impossible or could only be achieved at a greater risk to EMS personnel and the public than would result from delayed response
  • parked trains
  • unusual system overload, defined as 200 percent of average demand for the day of week and hour of day calculated annually based on the prior year’s calls


Fines can be imposed for individual responses exceeding these measures:

  • Priority 1 >17:59 ($1500)
  • Priority 2 > 17:59 ($1000)
  • Priority 3 > 29:59 ($750)
  • Priority 4 (scheduled transfers between facilities) >60:59 ($500)


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