Answering The Call


Answering The Call

Answering the Call

America, even from its earliest days, was forged by the strength of brave and dependable individuals volunteering their time and talents for the greater good. From the patriots of George Washington’s volunteer army to the courageous efforts of EMS heroes at Ground Zero in Manhattan, our country was born, built, and has persevered through the selfless actions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in times of need.  

Today, however, right here in our home communities of Northwestern Pennsylvania, we face a crisis that threatens to compromise our quality of life and seriously endanger those who need our help the most. Like many regions throughout the nation, we face a critical shortage of trained emergency medical services (EMS) professionals.

69% of Rural EMS Organizations have reported problems recruiting or retaining volunteers.

** Open Tab for Training and Certification Details

Formal training and certification is needed to become an EMT or paramedic. A high school diploma is typically required to enter a formal training program. Some programs offer an associate degree along with the formal EMT training. All 50 states have a certification procedure. In most states and the District of Columbia, registration with the NREMT is required at some or all levels of certification. Pennsylvania utilizes the NREMT testing procedure for initial entry into the system. Other states administer their own certification examination or provide the option of taking the NREMT examination. To maintain certification, EMTs and paramedics must re-register. In order to reregister, an individual must meet a continuing education requirement.

Many people use the training and experience they gain as an EMT/Paramedic to help through nursing school, medical school or to become firefighters and police officers.



The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Responder is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients in need. This individual must possess the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS response, and to assist higher level personnel at the scene and during transport.

 Emergency Medical Responder is an entry-level position that functions as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Responders perform basic interventions with minimal equipment, such as administering oxygen and providing an initial assessment of the patient.   

Hours of Training: Minimum of 50 

Minimum Age: 16


 The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Technician is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients in need.

 This individual must possess the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS response, and to assist higher level personnel at the scene and during transport.

 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an entry-level position. EMT’s perform basic interventions such as injury treatment, splinting and extrication of entrapped patients. 

 Hours of Training: Minimum of 150-190

Minimum Age: 16

ADVANCED                     EMT

The Advanced EMT position is a new level of training that’s great for EMTs looking to advance their career.   The AEMT can administer medications, perform advanced airway maneuvers and transmit heart rhythm readings to the emergency department. In order to become certified as an AEMT you must first be certified as an EMT.

Hours of Training: 150 - 250

Minimum Age: 18


 The Paramedic is a health professional whose primary focus is to provide advanced emergency medical care for critical and emergent patients who request assistance through the 911 system or non-emergency channel. 

 This individual possesses the complex knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Advanced skills such as heart monitoring and intravenous therapy (IV) are taught at this level. 

To become certified as a paramedic you must be a certified AEMT or EMT

 Hours of Training: 1000 – 1200

Minimum Age: 18

PA Pre-Hospital RN   (PA PHRN)

 If you a registered nurse in Pennsylvania and are 18 years of age or older, you are eligible to start the process to become a Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse to work or volunteer on the ambulance. As a PHRN, you will be able to apply your nursing skills to administer life-saving medications, monitor a patient’s heart rhythm, and interact with other pre-hospital practitioners as part of a life-saving team.

Pre-Hospital Physician Extender

 If you are a physician assistant in Pennsylvania, you are eligible to take the PA Pre-Hospital Physician Extender exam. Contact your local EMS service for more information.


If Not You, Then Who?

If Not You, Then Who?


Regional EMS Councils

Regional EMS Councils

Regional EMS Councils



We need your help!  Just like any other business, EMS needs community support.  We depend on volunteers from all walks of life to keep our doors open.  You may think that we are only looking for certified EMS practitioners, but that is not the case.  We also need support staff.   If you have a background in grant writing, business administration, fundraising or vehicle/ building maintenance we need you.  Stop in to your local ambulance station to see how you can get started today!



Phone Number: (814)-337-5380

Fax Number: (814) 337-0871

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, Warren 

Emergency Medical Service Institute

Phone Number:  (412) 242-7322

Fax Number:  (412) 787-2340

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, Westmoreland   

EMMCO East, Inc

Phone Number: (814) 834-9212

Fax Number: (814) 781-3881

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter  

Southern Alleghenies EMS Council, Inc.

Phone Number: (814) 696-3200

Fax Number: (814) 696-0101

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset   

Seven Mountains EMS Council, Inc.

Phone Number: (814) 355-1474

Fax Number: (814) 355-5149

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union   

LTS EMS Council

Phone Number: (570) 433-4461

Fax Number: (570) 433-4435

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga   

Emergency Health Services Federation, Inc.

Phone Number: (717) 774-7911

Fax Number: (717) 774-6163

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, York  

EMS of Northeastern PA, Inc

Phone Number :( 570) 655-6818

Fax Number: (570) 655-6824

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzern, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming   

Eastern PA EMS Council, Inc.

Phone Number: (610) 820-9212

Fax Number: (610) 820-5620

Regional EMS Council Counties:

Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Schuylkill  

Bucks Co. Emergency Health Services

Phone Number: (215) 340-8735

Fax Number: (215) 957-0765

Regional EMS Council Counties: 


Montgomery County Emergency Medical Services

Phone Number: (610) 278-2666

Fax Number: (610) 278-6254

Regional EMS Council Counties:


Chester County EMS Council

Phone Number: (610) 344-5000

Fax Number: (610) 344-5063

Regional EMS Council Counties:


Delaware Emergency Health Services

Phone Number: (610) 891-5310

Fax Number: (610) 891-5375

Regional EMS Council Counties:


Philadelphia EMS Council

Phone Number:  (215) 685-4216

Fax Number: (215) 685-4207

Regional EMS Council Counties:



Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

56% of millennial volunteers were motivated to join because they got to meet new people who care about the same issues.

** Open tab for National Quick Facts: EMTs and Paramedics

2015 Median Pay: $31, 980 per year, $15.38 per hour

Typical Entry-level Education: Postsecondary non-degree award

Paramedics are ranked #25 in Best Health Care Support Jobs

Job Outlook, 2014-2024: 24% growth

EMTs and paramedics held about 210,700 jobs in 2008. Most career EMTs and paramedics work in metropolitan areas. Volunteer EMTs and paramedics are more common in small cities, towns, and rural areas.

These individuals volunteer for fire departments, emergency medical services, or hospitals and may respond to only a few calls per month. Paid EMTs and paramedics were employed in a number of industries. About 45 percent worked as employees of ambulance services. About 29 percent worked in local government. Another 20 percent worked in hospitals.

How do I get started in EMS?

A: All EMS Training programs are conducted through Training Institutes that are accredited through the PA Department of Health. There are training institutes located throughout the Commonwealth. 

What Kind Of Opportunities Will Becoming An EMS Practitioner Open Up For Me?

A: From volunteering with your community to working with a paid service, EMS opens all kinds of opportunities. Working as a dispatcher, becoming a member of a rescue service, working within a hospital setting, a medical helicopter service or saving lives on the streets of your community all start with becoming involved with your local EMS agency. 

How Do I Know EMS Is Right For Me?

A: An EMS professional is caring, compassionate and is able to gain a patient’s trust.  They communicate well, have fast instincts, and are able to think fast to make quick decisions.

Is It Fun To Be Able To Drive An Ambulance?

A: We can’t lie; it is fun driving the ambulance!  But we also take the responsibility very seriously.  EMS Practitioners are required to take an Emergency Vehicle Driving course in order to learn how to handle the ambulance in all kinds of weather and possible driving conditions.  In addition, EMS personnel are required to take yearly training to hone their driving skills.

Once I Become Certified As An EMS Practitioner, What Do I Need To Do To Maintain My Certification?

A: Once certified, all EMS practitioners must complete continuing education and meet re-registration requirements to maintain their certification.  There are many continuing education classes conducted in the area, along with computer- based classes you can complete at home.  You will also be required to complete a healthcare level CPR class every two years.

What Is The Best Part Of Your Job?

A: Helping people, no question about it!  As an EMS Professional, you will be called to help people in many different ways.  From bringing a new life into this world, or holding the hand of an elderly patient, new and different experiences are just around the corner.  By answering the call you can make a difference in someone’s life.