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Emergency Medical Services

The Fire Department's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) section responds to emergency calls involving injury or illness. More than 70 percent of calls received by the Fire Department are medical calls.

Medic units (often called ambulances) are housed in fire stations alongside fire apparatus, and all career and many volunteer personnel are trained in both EMS and fire suppression. The Department operates 31 career advanced life support medic units; the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association operates 19 advanced life support ambulances and two basic life support  units.

All career fire apparatus are equipped with automatic external defibrillators, used to treat sudden cardiac arrest victims.

Eight EMS district officers supervise daily EMS operations.

Will I Get A Bill?

Baltimore County does not bill for EMS service. If you live in Baltimore County or are a visitor to Baltimore County, the cost of emergency medical service is covered by tax revenues.

About EMS Response

Engines vs. Medic Units

Occasionally, a fire engine, ladder truck or utility vehicle will respond when you call 911 for medical assistance. All career fire units and many volunteer engines carry trained EMS personnel.

Dispatchers send an engine, truck or utility unit if one of these is closer to the medical emergency than an available medic unit; the goal is to reach the patient as quickly as possible. Also, dispatchers may send an engine to support medic crews on high-priority medical calls.

Career vs. Volunteer

Dispatchers send career and volunteer personnel based on proximity to the emergency and the type of equipment required. At the incident scene, career and volunteer personnel follow the same chain of command and the same operating procedures. Volunteers who actively respond to fire and EMS calls must have the same basic training as their career counterparts.

Contact Information

Fire Director Christian Griffin, 410-887-8102 or cgriffin@baltimorecountymd.gov, supervises Baltimore County's EMS operations.

Revised August 19, 2013

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