CODE ZERO is a term we use to indicate that there are no ambulances available in Lincoln County.  When the last ambulance is dispatched on a call a tone is sounded so that the on duty Battalion Chief and Chief Administrator are made aware of the Code Zero status.  At this point the Battalion Chief takes a quick inventory of where all of the ambulances are and how close they may be to retuning in service.  If a call comes in during the CODE ZERO time the Battalion Chief will run a call until a mutual aid ambulance from another county can take over care and transport.

At the same time, the Chief Administrator, who is also a Paramedic, will keep an ear to the radio and should another call come in while the Battalion Chief is busy the Chief will run the call while at the same time dispatch will request a mutual aid ambulance most likely from St. Charles County Ambulance District to transport and take over care from either the Battalion Chief or Chief.

At this point you may be asking why the Battalion Chief and Chief do not grab a reserve ambulance to run a call.  If we have a specific run such as to an accident scene, we may choose to do this. However, if the call volume is such that we ran out of ambulances due to individual calls and not a mass casualty it makes more sense to keep two paramedics available rather than put them together on one response.

CODE ZERO status can last anywhere from a few seconds to over an hour.  If the Battalion Chief or Chief feel that all ambulances will be on calls for an extended period of time a move up from St. Charles can also be requested.  A move up is when an ambulance from another county is requested to position themselves in a Lincoln County Base to be closer to the next potential 911 call.