About Emergency Medical Services

EMS Background Information

The Fire Service in Anne Arundel County has a long history of providing medical care/first aid. The first Ambulance Services were provided by individual Volunteer Fire Companies throughout the County in the early 1950’s. Some of the early ambulances were the GMC carry all sedans that were converted into ambulances. During this era, two Volunteer companies, the Brooklyn Community Volunteer Fire Department and the West Annapolis Volunteer Fire. 

Company and Improvement Association were the only companies that carried the portable iron lung devices used to provide life saving respiratory therapy in the days before cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

After the formation of Charter Government in Anne Arundel County in 1965, The Anne Arundel County Fire Department took over the responsibility for providing Emergency Medical Services. During this time period, first aid /medical transports were still accomplished by individual volunteer companies. However, some ambulances (Woodland Beach VFD; Earleigh Heights VFD, Co-12; Brooklyn Community VFD, Co-31; Linthicum VFD, Co-32; Glen Burnie VFD, Co-33; and Avalon Shores VFD, [7th District Rescue Squad, Co-24] Co-41) were independently staffed during the day with career employees trained to the level of advanced first aid who supplemented the volunteer forces. Two of these units (Co-32 and Co-33) ultimately evolved into the first 24 hour round the clock ambulances staffed by shift work career firefighters. This was followed with two additional round the clocks ambulances (Co-31 and Co-12) two years later.

As the delivery of fire based Emergency Medical Services continued to evolve in the1970’s, the Fire Department began training personnel to the level of Emergency Medical Technicians in 1972. In the mid 1970’s, the Department formed an Emergency Medical Services Division and the Department began the transition into the Paramedic age. Three Advanced Life Support (ALS) units, staffed with career personnel trained to the level of Cardiac Rescue Technician, were established at Co-12, Co-32, and Co-33. In 1974, the department began to place non-transport paramedic units in service. The first generation of these units was the Ford Torino station wagon; with the second generation evolving into Chevy Suburban’s. 

Today, that system has transformed into a world class Emergency Medical response system consisting of 23 Advanced Life Support Paramedic Transport Companies staffed by career cross trained Firefighter/Paramedics certified at both National and State levels; 11 Basic Life Support Transport Units staffed by Career/Volunteer Firefighter EMT’s; and two Paramedic Engine Companies. These dedicated individuals serve a residential population of more than 512,000 people and together respond to more than 55,000 medical calls a year.