Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services
About EMS

The Bureau of Emergency Medical Services is dedicated to the reduction of morbidity and mortality of residents and visitors through the provision of Advanced Life Support prehospital care, medically directed Technical Rescue and transportation of the ill and injured.

I am pleased to welcome you to our EMS home on the City of Pittsburgh's Public Safety website.

Pittsburgh EMS is dedicated to bringing compassionate, life-saving emergency medical care to our streets, our homes and our workplaces -- to the very hearts of our residents and visitors -- thus making Pittsburgh a safer and healthier place to live.

Pittsburgh EMS is recognized across the world as a leader in the provision of prehospital emergency care. Amongst our honors, Pennsylvania's Governor symbolically signed the State's EMS Act of 1985 in one of our stations, and in 2000 we were awarded Pennsylvania's Ambulance Service of the Year. However, no honor is more significant than the sincere words of thanks and praise we receive from our patients for helping them in their time of need.

With over 175 Paramedics, responding nearly 56,000 times each year, Pittsburgh EMS provides a wide range of services including Advanced Life Support prehospital care, medically directed Technical Rescue from a wide variety of accidents and entrapments, River Rescue, ALS coverage at special community events, community education in CPR/AED, and much more.

I encourage you to spend time at our site exploring Pittsburgh EMS, what we do, where we are in your community and how we can be of service to you. And, if you have an interest in becoming a member of our EMS team, visit the Personnel website to see if we are currently recruiting personnel.

If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me through the links provided.

Thank you for visiting our website!

Today's Pittsburgh EMS is the result of ongoing years of service, dedication and even a few hardships along the way. In the late 1960s, the earliest phases of what Pittsburgh EMS is today, a group of Pittsburgh residents were trained and certified as Paramedics in Pennsylvania's first Paramedic Program right here in Allegheny County. This group of newly trained Paramedics became the first recognized service to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) to Pittsburgh, and was known as Freedom House Ambulance Service.

Prior to the establishment of Pittsburgh EMS, transport of the ill and injured was primarily a responsibility of the Pittsburgh Police. Using "paddy wagons", predominantly used for prisoner transport, the police officers, lacking sufficient medical training, would transport the patient. In a response to the medical community, the City of Pittsburgh trained approximately 300 police officers to the level of Emergency Medical Technician so they would then be able to provide basic medical care to the residents of the City. Still poorly equipped and trained, the service provided was unable to meet the needs of the City. City Council joined the push for a more developed EMS service, and between 1974 and 1975 nearly three quarters of a million dollars were set aside to fund a new Emergency Medical Services Program.

Using the funds appropriated by City Council, as well as obtaining funding through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), The Emergency Medical Services Program was founded. The Emergency Medical Services Program was officially established as part of the Mayor's Office in 1975.

In August of 1975, four ALS Ambulances were stationed around the City. In the first four months after inception, the new service responded to over 3,200 calls for assistance. By the end of 1976, the EMS Program had grown to 66 Paramedics, staffing five ALS Ambulances and responding to over 20,000 calls for aid.

By 1978, the Department of Emergency Medical Services was created, and the department had almost doubled in size due to the increasing demand for service. By 1980, the department grew to around 200 Paramedics and staffed 14 EMS Units. By the end of that year, the police officers were phased out and Pittsburgh EMS had established for itself a strong foundation within the heart of the City of Pittsburgh.

Today, Pittsburgh EMS employs over 150 Paramedics who staff 13 ALS Ambulances, 2 Rescue Trucks, River Rescue and other EMS Units. Last year alone EMS responded to over 56,000 calls for rescue and emergency medical care.

Here's a list of the Bureau's response statistics* as acquired from the dispatch center for most of our field units. It's easy to see that caring for the City of Pittsburgh is a large task.

2009 Statistics
Unit Total Responses Transports
5101 4665 3097
5102 4770 3238
5103 5077 3308
5104 5327 3360
5105 5350 3393
5106 4771 2924
5107 4040 2447
5108 4864 3075
5109 4359 2777
5110 3478 2263
5111 3382 2148
5112 2686 1610
5114 5574 3317
5201 3237
5202 3456
Totals 65036 36957

*does not include river rescue stats or special units MMU, SPE Trucks or, extra units for additional staffing i.e. Medic 16, 17 etc.

 

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