COVID-19 Surge Response

Ornge Surge Response 

An Operations Control Manager is available 24/7 in the Operations Control Centre to address any concerns you have by calling 1.833.401.5577.

Surge Response Services

Ornge has a range of expertise and resources that can be of assistance in community surge scenarios, such as a small hospital dealing with a multiple casualty scenario or a remote community dealing with an infectious disease outbreak.  In general terms, these services could be activated when a significant event is imminent or occurring. Examples include an influx of patients related to COVID-19 within a small community, an incident with multiple patients requiring medical evacuation or an incident having a significant impact on the local health care system.

Ornge’s surge response services can include the deployment of a team of Paramedics (described below) to assist with initial resuscitation and stabilization of patients while medical transportation arrangements are organized.

While the primary mandate of Ornge is patient transport, Ornge can assist in other ways, such as:

  • providing clinical support via telemedicine with Ornge Transport Medicine Physicians (TMPs);
  • rapidly deploying critical care paramedic support in the community while patients are being transported to tertiary care;
  • providing other forms of logistical support for managing the early stages of surge, until such times as longer-term supports or solutions are available and/or the Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) can be deployed.

What We Can Offer

Ornge has the capacity to organize a group comprised of Ornge personnel who can be rapidly deployed to assist community hospitals or nursing stations if facility staff become overwhelmed. ​Personnel includes paramedics experienced in providing critical care medicine in semi-austere environments. They are supported behind-the-scenes by Transport Medicine Physicians as well as staff with expertise in logistics and incident management.

The intent is to provide temporary on-the-ground assistance as a bridge to the deployment of additional resources (Example: EMAT). ​ Ornge personnel can increase surge capacity by staffing Ornge assets or increasing the level of care of Standing Agreement air carriers. For example, critical care paramedics can be deployed onto an aircraft normally staffed by a primary care paramedic to increase the level of care. This assistance can be accessed through the Operations Control Centre and led by an Incident Management Team which is responsible for organizing deployment operations.

Before You Request Assistance

Please click the subject below to learn more about accessing surge response services

Surge Response Checklist

To provide the most effective response, please review the following checklist before requesting the surge response team.
Patient severity for transport:

  • Number of Emergent (life-threatening, unstable patient) 
  • Number of Urgent (non life-threatening, prompt transport required)
  • Special populations (i.e. Pediatric, Obstetrics, or Bariatric)
  • Special situations (i.e. COVID patients in a remote community)

Specialized equipment or monitoring requirements for transport:

  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Multi-channel infusion pump(s)
  • Hemodynamic or invasive monitoring
  • Ongoing administration of medications and/or blood products during transport

Immediate needs of medical facility:

  • Human resources 
  • Airway management and mechanical ventilation potentially required
  • Pharmacy (i.e. Propofol, Fentanyl, Norepinephrine)
  • Medical consumables
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Advice on the management of critically ill patients

Accessing Surge Response Services

A request for surge response services can be accessed through the Operations Control Centre (OCC). The OCC will connect the requesting medical facility with Ornge’ Incident Management Team to determine what support requirements are required. If you or your facility feels like an incident is impending or ongoing, please call early for an assessment.

An Operations Control Manager is available 24/7 in the Operations Control Centre to address any concerns you have by calling 1.833.401.5577.

Deployment Guidelines

Once a request for assistance is received, the Incident Management Team and OCC, in consultation with the requesting medical facility, will determine what support services Ornge can provide. This will depend on a number of criteria, including:
  • Requirements for Airway Management & Mechanical Ventilation.
  • Significant event that has the potential to affect the local health care system of a community.
  • Outbreak in a remote, Indigenous or small community hospital where local resources are overwhelmed.
  • Expanding or escalating incident likely to overwhelm local health care resources.

For more information

For more information on Ornge’s surge response capabilities, please contact
An Operations Control Manager is available 24/7 in the Operations Control Centre to address any concerns you have by calling 1.833.401.5577.