EMS dispatch codes I'd like to see

911 dispatch cards needed to better serve the public's request for emergency care and transport

By Justin Schorr

If I am dispatched to a 26A10, I know this call is for a sick person (26) non-emergency (A) deaf eval (10). The codes tell me. Don‘t ask me why we have a code for that, but there you go.

Here are some more codes we need to add immediately to better serve the public, since I have been sent lights and sirens to each one of these incidents:

(AP Photo/Dave Collins)
(AP Photo/Dave Collins)

Card 34 – Homeless People

funny dispatch codes that we need
"The homeless people are staring at me." (liber, via flickr.com)


  • 34A1 – Homeless guy staring at me as I carry groceries (Not a big deal, right?)
  • 34B1 – More than 1 homeless person encamped within 200 feet of my front door (OK, could eventually lead to something, I guess.)
  • 34C1 – Homeless person asleep in public view (Oh no! Call 911! He‘s sleeping!)
  • 34D1 – Homeless person using my front door as a toilet (You don‘t need an ambulance, you need a hose.)
  • 34E1 – Homeless person with dog, please save dog (By far the most urgent of them all, but still not an emergency.)


Card 35 – Boutique Care Requested

funny dispatch codes that we need
"I'm out of aloe. Please send serveral ambulances." (Kelly Sue, via flickr.com)


  • 35A1 – Sunburn from skiing, wants ambulance to ER (Yes, it was a sunburn and yes he was told to go home and use aloe by the MD as soon as we hit the door. Not urgent, hence a 34A1.)
  • 35B1 – Rash of three weeks suddenly urgent (This woman was adamant that she be taken via ambulance, even calling hubby to tell him how sick she was. She wasn‘t, but did actually have a rash. So, I‘ll code this a Bravo level response.)
  • 35C1 – Fall from desk chair on first day of government job (Can‘t make it up, folks, but she could be hurt, right? No? Well, since it is unlikely she fell far, we‘ll still send crews out in a hurry.)
  • 35D1 – Single speed bicycle damaged, needs ride to finish delivery (Was hurt, wouldn‘t agree to go to hospital, just wanted a police report and a ride a few blocks away to complete his delivery.)
  • 35E1 – Friend suddenly has food poisoning after night of binge drinking (No, no that looks and smells like cheap vodka coming back up, but the food poisoning bit got us there in a hurry. Oh, by the way, I need to call your parents since you‘re both 16 and drunk.)


Card 36 – Car Accident Without Injuries

  • 36A1 – “Well, I was travelling the speed limit when out of nowhere this jerk…” (Skip to the part where someone is hurt.)
  • 36B1 – “I want this in your report, he was on his stupid phone.” (Skip to the part where someone is hurt.)
  • 36C1 – “Aren‘t you supposed to be arresting him right now?” (Skip to the part where someone is hurt.)
  • 36D1 – “Look at the scratch on my Beemer! Are you just going to let him drive away?” (Skip to the part where someone is hurt.)
  • 36E1 – “I don‘t have insurance, but if I‘m hurt I don‘t have to pay, right?” (Skip to the part where…wait what?)


Card 37 – Sniff-Sniff

funny dispatch codes that we need
"Hmmm...these flowers smell suspicious." (Ian D. Keating, via flickr.com)


  • 37A1 – Smell of popcorn in store next to theater (This isn‘t the first time, but we don‘t think it‘s natural gas.)
  • 37B1 – Odor of cat urine in alleyway, possibly meth factory (Meth factory? They smell like alleys downtown where homeless people defecate? I had no idea. Maybe this should be a 34D1?)
  • 37C1 – Smell of smoke in apartment with occupant chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes (Lady, if you‘ve smelled anything in the last 3 decades I‘d be surprised.)
  • 37D1 – Strong smell of fresh cut flowers in hallway near air freshener (Then I guess our work here is done.)
  • 37E1 – The air fresheners are to cover up the smell of a rotting corpse (Then I guess we‘ll be masking up and calling the coroner.)


Card 38 – Unable to Adult Today OR You got what stuck where?

funny dispatch codes that we need
"So, how did this happen?" (via imgur.com)


  • 38A1 – Finger stuck in bowling ball (Yes, they go there, but no, not that small of a ball next time. Smile for Instagram!)
  • 38B1 – Sex toy no longer retrievable (Sir, please just take a deep breath and start from the beginning.)
  • 38C1 – Oh, you weren‘t kidding, it‘s gone (OK, well, let‘s get you to a hospital. No, we won‘t call your wife.)
  • 38D1 – Multiple male enhancement pills doing what they advertise (I know that, sir, but the ad says to call a doctor after four hours, not an ambulance.)
  • 38E1 – Seriously? That went up there? How long ago? (I know I had you start from the beginning, but I lost you when you were talking about Godzilla being sexy.)


Card 39 – Unclear on the concept

funny dispatch codes that we need
"Hello 911, I need my pills...and a ride to the grocery store." (Kat Northern Lights Man, via flickr.com)


  • 39A1 – Needs medication refilled, calling from payphone outside 24-hour pharmacy (Yes, you do have to pay for the antibiotics. No, I will not loan you $4. I wish I had your coverage.)
  • 39B1 – Pregnant, needs exam. Won‘t go until finished with bottle of wine (not even good wine either.)
  • 39C1 – Barfed in taxi, faking unconsciousness to avoid the bill (We tucked it in their shirt pocket.)
  • 39D1 – Faked choking to avoid bill at swanky restaurant (We waited to transport until he had his card declined and was cited by police.)
  • 39E1 – Needs ambulance to call tow truck, AAA taking too long (Of course I can call a tow truck for you, can I borrow your phone? *clicks re-dial and hands it back* Have a nice evening!)


Card 40 – Procreating like a pro

  • 40A1 – Disposable diapers not labeled for reuse, needs more (No, Ma‘am you‘re supposed to throw these away every time. They‘re not leaking, they‘re full.)
  • 40B1 – Kid #6 hit kid #8 with kid #2‘s toy…or was it kid #5 hitting… (Let‘s just take them all and let the ER sort it out.)
  • 40C1 – Child given backpack with books and told, “Momma will meet you there later after work” (because child care is so expensive these days).
  • 40D1 – Caller states one of her four children is missing, not sure which one (She labels them by their father‘s names, not their own, and can‘t remember which one is currently missing.)


And here is the card I hope we never need and, no, I have not responded to one of these...yet.

Card 33 – Zombie Attack


  • 33A1 – (Minor) Zombie bite – Skin intact
  • 33B1 – (Minor but some take a look) Zombie Bite – Skin broken, no symptoms of zombie
  • 33C1 – (Could be legit) Zombie Bite – Site Infected, patient becoming zombie
  • 33D1 – (More severe) Multiple undead in the area, multiple persons bit
  • 33E1 – (Most severe) Caller now gnawing phone, do not approach area


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