PRESS RELEASES

CITY OF PITTSBURGH CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH TRIBUTE TO FREEDOM HOUSE AMBULANCE SERVICE

CITY OF PITTSBURGH CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH TRIBUTE TO FREEDOM HOUSE AMBULANCE SERVICE 

Announce EMT Academy named in honor of the original Freedom House Ambulance Service 

PITTSBURGH - The City of Pittsburgh kicked off celebrating Black History Month with a salute to Freedom House Ambulance Service, the first emergency medical service in the United States to be staffed by Black men and women paramedics with medical training beyond basic first aid.  

Founded in 1967 in Pittsburgh's Hill District, Freedom House Ambulance Service remarkable staff created the blueprint for modern day EMS and many of its practices that remain in use to this day. 

“Pittsburgh’s inner city produced not just America’s first EMT service but the world with the creation of Freedom House Ambulance Service. Becoming trailblazers in providing pre-hospital and CPR care,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “This year’s Black History Month exhibit shines a spotlight on the men and woman who paved the way for an entirely new profession, the paramedic.” 

The monthlong display in the City-County Building’s grand lobby features a variety of photographs, equipment and other memorabilia showcasing the nation’s first paramedic team.  Anyone unable to visit downtown to see the exhibit, may view the content online from February 1 – 29. Which features a series of interviews with individuals involved with establishing the service as well as those currently providing emergency medical services.  Along with photographs and highlights of memorabilia on display downtown. 

Freedom House Ambulance Service was an innovative concept of “mobile intensive care” that worked with unemployed African-American men and women from Pittsburgh’s Hill District, who served as Freedom House attendants. 

Now, the Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS is launching a new pilot program called Freedom House EMT Training, in honor of the original Freedom House Ambulance Service. This program will allow residents to obtain their EMT certifications which allow them to transition to the bureau as full-time employees. Anyone interested in applying should visit PGHJOBS.NET or pittsburghpa.gov/ems for more information.  

Those in the program will be able to receive a living wage while attending the 12-week program taught in-house at the training academy and upon completion, earn first year EMT wages. 

Former Pittsburgh EMS Assistant Chief and member of Freedom House Ambulance Service John Moon remembers what it was like to not have the life-saving services of a paramedic and sees the great possibilities with the new initative.  

“In the 1960s, there was absolutely no EMS service in this country, no one trained to the extent we were.  Here in Pittsburgh we wrote and developed the paramedic training program that paramedics began using throughout the United States,” said Moon.  

The City of Pittsburgh’s 2024 celebration of Black History Month is presented by Citiparks Office of Special Events and is sponsored by AARP Pennsylvania, 100.1 & AM 1020 KDKA NewsRadio and WAMO 107.3. 

Additional information about the City of Pittsburgh’s Black History Month celebration is available at www.pittsburghpa.gov/events and @PghEventsOffice.  

###

Published

02.01.2024
Save as PDF
Experimental - may have alignment issues.

Contacts

Olga George
Press Secretary
Mayor's Office
412-627-0679
olga.george@pittsburghpa.gov