Ambulance Response to Life-Threatening Emergencies

When someone calls 911 to request emergency medical services, first responders and ambulances fulfill different roles in the response. In a life-threatening medical emergency, first responders providing basic and advanced life support (BLS/ALS) arrive first at the scene of the incident to treat the patient until an ambulance arrives to transport the patient to the hospital, if necessary. According to policy set forth by San Francisco’s Emergency Medical Services Agency, ambulances should arrive at the scene of a life-threatening emergency medical incident within ten minutes at least 90 percent of the time.

Fire Department

How Performance is Measured

The response interval is measured from the time a unit is dispatched to a call until the time that the unit arrives at the scene of the incident. Ambulance on-time performance is calculated as the percent of calls when an ambulance responded within 10 minutes. Calls that were upgraded from Code 2 (non-life-threatening) to Code 3 (life-threatening) en route to the scene are excluded from the calculation.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the response chart above.

Additional Information

View response interval dashboards on San Francisco’s emergency medical response webpage.


Access Scorecard data through DataSF, San Francisco's open data portal.