News Details

170,000 calls and many lives saved Gloucester County celebrates 10th Anniversary of Emergency Medical Services

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2017
Contact: Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger (856-853-3395) or
Freeholder Deputy Director Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Chila (853-3382)

170,000 calls and many lives saved Gloucester County celebrates 10th Anniversary of Emergency Medical Services

(Clayton, NJ) – Gloucester County Freeholders, Senator Steve Sweeney, several emergency room physicians and other first responders today joined to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Gloucester County Emergency Medical Services, the first and only county-run basic life support service in New Jersey.

Senator Steve Sweeney was Freeholder Director when the GCEMS was formed in 2007, said “Many mayors came to me with a concern of lack of volunteer ambulance coverage. There were serious gaps in service in many municipalities because we no longer lived in an era where people had the time to volunteer on a consistent basis and people were waiting too long for an ambulance to arrive.”

“We had to do something about this crisis and the county took the lead to work with our towns to create the Gloucester County EMS.”

Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert Damminger said, “When you call for an ambulance you want it immediately, but what we found was that people were waiting far too long. We set out to create a system that would meet a standard of excellence. The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Service average target response time is 8 minutes and 59 seconds, 90% of the time, GCEMS average response time remains under six minutes.”

Freeholder Deputy Director Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Chila, Liaison to GCEMS said, “We started out with ten towns in our system, with nine stations and eighteen ambulances in its fleet. The county hired 140 full and part-time EMT’s under a uniform set of policies and procedures.”

“Today GCEMS services 19 municipalities and has a fleet of 28 ambulances and multiple support vehicles. They are staffed with over 200 dedicated members responding from fourteen EMS Stations. Their twelve crews operate on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis. And since it’s inception in 2007 have answered 170,000 calls of service.”

Chila said, “We set out to save lives, but GCEMS also has saved more than $3.6 million in taxpayers dollars as well. By creating a uniform system where administrative, operational and training were all streamlined, towns save a lot of money by participating in GCEMS.”

GCEMS has won many awards and accolades over the past 10 years including being the first agency in Southern New Jersey and the State of New Jersey to receive the Public EMS Agency of the Year Award (2010), Career EMT of the Year Award (2011), EMS Physician of the Year Award (2011) and Agency Administrator of the Year Award (2010).

Because of GCEMS’s ability to pool resources and apply for grants, the agency has many specialized vehicles and resources that many EMS agencies cannot afford, including a bariatric ambulance with a winch and lift that can handle patients up to 1,100 pounds; the ASAP – Alternative Support Apparatus, an off-road ambulance for remote locations; a patient simulator and a fleet of quick response vehicles with automated CPR devices, and a multi-patient ambulance bus equip to transport 14 patients simultaneously.