Gloucester County EMS Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Gloucester County Emergency Medical Service?

Gloucester County EMS was created by the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders to provide lifesaving emergency medical services to any municipality within the County of Gloucester requesting service.  The Board of Chosen Freeholders began this bold initiative after significant research, in response to lengthening response times experienced in some instances.  Providing for the safety of it’s citizens a high priority within the County of Gloucester.

How many municipalities have joined the EMS regional service?

Seventeen municipalities currently have joined the GCEMS family: Clayton, East Greenwich, Glassboro, Greenwich, Logan, Mantua, National Park, Paulsboro, Pitman, Swedesboro, West Deptford, Woolwich, Harrison, South Harrison, Wenonah, Elk and Woodbury.  Additional County of Gloucester municipalities are welcome to request service from GCEMS.

When did Gloucester County EMS begin providing services?

The first GCEMS response was on September 30th, 2007.  Continuous service has been provided since that date. 

What is the current staffing level at Gloucester County EMS?

At this time the GCEMS staff consists of over 170 skilled pre-hospital providers who respond from 11 stations throughout the GCEMS service area.  A minimum of 12 ambulances are staffed around the clock.  A thirteenth and fourteenth ambulance is staffed during peak call volume hours each day.  Additional ambulances are staffed as needed for community events, foul weather or periods of increased call volume.  Each ambulance is staffed with two certified Emergency Medical Technicians.   Supervisors are also on-duty, 24 hours per day.

How is Gloucester County EMS performing and how has regionalizing improved EMS for those municipalities that join?

The performance of the regionalized system is evaluated on a call by call basis.  Review of the first year of performance found that calls for service are answered with an average response time under 6 minutes.  These statistics show that the regional system operates well under the 8 minute, 59 second “Gold Standard” response time goal adopted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Significant cost savings have been realized by the participating municipalities, saving local tax dollars.

Who oversees the operation of Gloucester County EMS?

The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders oversees the operation of GCEMS, a division of the Gloucester County Department of Emergency Response.  The day to day operation of GCEMS is directed by the GCEMS Chief Andy Lovell with the assistance of the administrative and operational staff.  GCEMS employs a physician Medical Director who is responsible for all clinical aspects of the operation and continuous quality assurance.

How do I call for GCEMS?

As with any public safety emergency, Dial 9-1-1 from any telephone and follow the instructions given to you by the trained Public Safety Telecommunicator.

When should I call 9-1-1 for GCEMS?

Any time that you have, or believe that you are having any type of medical emergency. This can be as major as a heart attack or as simple as a broken bone. If you are ever in doubt, call 9-1-1.

Who will take care of me if I call 9-1-1 in a medical emergency?

Each GCEMS ambulance is staffed with 2 New Jersey certified emergency medical technicians (EMT).  Each EMT must complete a 140 hour training course before they are eligible to take the State of New Jersey administered test.  To become a certified EMT, the test must be completed successfully.  Additionally, all EMTs must complete continuing education requirements yearly.  GCEMS EMTs also receive monthly training to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

What hospital will GCEMS take me to?

The medical condition of the patient will often dictate the hospital that they are transported to.  Specific conditions such as a traumatic injury may require treatment and transportation to specialized hospitals such as a trauma center.   As much as possible, GCEMS will attempt to honor our patients’ requests when selecting the destination hospital.  Hospital Diversion may affect the selection of the destination hospital.

Will I be invoiced for services I receive from Gloucester County EMS?

In order to minimize the impact on the County of Gloucester budget, GCEMS will seek reimbursement from your insurance carrier on your behalf.

I recently received a check in the mail from my insurance company for ambulance transportation; what should I do?

Despite a New Jersey statute that prohibits this practice, some insurance carriers send insurance payments for services rendered directly to the patient or the insured. In these cases, you should forward the payment to GCEMS to reimburse the taxpayers of Gloucester County for the services provided to you.

Is there a role for volunteers at Gloucester County EMS?

Yes, intern opportunities are available for individuals wishing to enter the exciting world of EMS as well as those desiring to serve the community.  All individuals are welcome and encouraged to be a part of Gloucester County EMS.    Intern opportunities will include supplementing shift coverage and extra assignments such as athletic events and community events.  GCEMS will provide for any EMS related training needs of EMS interns.

Do all GCEMS ambulances respond to calls with their lights and sirens on?

No. When a call comes in, it is carefully triaged by a certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher who utilized a computer based program to determine the most appropriate response for each call.  Some calls are not immediately life threatening and therefore they do not require a lights and sirens response.  Many patients are transported to the hospital without use of lights and sirens for the same reason.  This practice greatly minimizes the risk for the patient, the GCEMS staff members and the public.

Why do I see Gloucester County EMS ambulances parked at several locations around the county?

Gloucester County EMS utilizes a dynamic deployment plan to position ambulances at strategic locations to better respond to emergencies. Ambulances are scheduled and positioned based on historical call data and current call volume. During traditionally busier times of the day, more ambulances are on duty. This process is similar to how law enforcement schedules and positions their officers. From time-to-time ambulances are re-positioned in an effort to provide a better response times to the entire GCEMS coverage area.  Occasionally, you may see a GCEMS ambulance staged at a street corner or adjacent to a highway awaiting the next call.

Are Gloucester County EMS ambulances available to cover community events?

Sure, we welcome these opportunities to showcase our staff and equipment to the taxpayers of Gloucester County.  For further information, or to schedule a GCEMS crew contact the GCEMS Office at 856-307-7120.  Adequate notice is required to assure scheduling of crews.

What other activities does Gloucester County EMS provide?

Spreading the word about EMS and promoting a presence within community is a responsibility and a priority for GCEMS.  Look on these pages for information on wellness visits for seniors, outreach programs to schools and other public education activities.  How can I get a copy of my Emergency Medical Services Records?

All patient care records are confidential and protected by privacy laws including the HIPAA act. Gloucester County EMS has established a privacy and security policy to comply with these laws and to assure the integrity of your protected health information. All requests for copies of records must be made in writing and authorized by the patient or the patient’s legal guardian. Only under a few exceptions, such as complying with a subpoena, can medical information be released without the consent of the patient. For more information and to request a copy of your patient care record, please call the GCEMS office at 856-307-7120.

What is an Emergency Department or hospital diversion?

Diversion is a protocol for deciding when a hospital is not able to accept new patients in the emergency room from arriving ambulances. When this occurs the ambulance is diverted to a hospital that is able to receive patients in their emergency room. Typically a hospital will go on "Diversion" when there are an insufficient number of beds in the regular hospital necessary for admission by emergency room patients. In theory, the protocol attempts to prevent the shortage of beds for emergency room patients after they have been treated and need admission to regular hospital care.  Gloucester County EMS will attempt to honor all hospital diversions as it is not in our patient’s best interest to be transported to a hospital experiencing a diversion.  GCEMS has no ability to change a hospital’s diversion status.

My family member must use an ambulance to get to an appointment at the doctor’s office, but it's not an emergency. What should I do?

In order to assure that we are always available to the residents of Gloucester County when they are experiencing an emergency, Gloucester County EMS only provides emergency treatment and transportation. Non-emergency transports are handled by private ambulance services. These services provide EMT's as necessary for all routine, non-emergency transports. Some also have special wheelchair services for those people that may need those services. You can find these in the yellow pages of the phone book.  If you simply need assistance getting you family member into your car, or back into your home, give us a call at the non-emergency number 856-589-0911 and we will gladly provide that assistance at any hour of the day or night.

My family member has slipped out of their wheelchair and isn’t hurt but I am unable to lift them back up off the floor.  I don’t know where to turn for help, what should I do?

Gloucester County EMS crews are on-duty around the clock and can provide assistance at any time for this type of situation.  Simply dial 9-1-1 and explain to the emergency dispatcher the situation.  We will gladly send a GCEMS crew over to provide immediate help.

I think I'd like to work with Gloucester County EMS. What do I need to do?

Applications for interns and career positions are available on the Human Resources section of the Gloucester County website.  Click here for to be taken to the intern application.  GCEMS Intern Application   Click here for to be taken to the career application. GCEMS Career Application  If you have any questions, give us a call at the GCEMS office 856-307-7120.