The story of Wakefield EMS
“In 1966, the authors of the 37-page White Paper (Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society) probably never imagined what things would look like today. They just knew that people were dying unnecessarily due to improper treatment. To put things in perspective, at the time, your chance of surviving a bullet wound was better in Vietnam than it was on the streets of America…It took seven years after the White Paper before Congress passed the EMS Systems Act of 1973, and put EMS under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).” – Gary Ludwig EMS: 50 Years Since “The White Paper”.
Wakefield EMS was founded in September of 1973 by a group of concerned residents of the southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The founding members realized that their community was in desperate need of local emergency medical care. The closest responding medical care was coming from Lancaster City a mere 30 minutes away. They then organized with financial support from the Wakefield Lions Club.
Wakefield EMS began as an all-volunteer group of 12 providers trained in First Aid and CPR. During their first year of service, beginning March 1974, Wakefield EMS volunteers responded to just under 100 emergencies. Licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a Basic Life Support EMS agency, Wakefield EMS continued to operate as an all-volunteer agency until the early 2000’s when the first paid employee was hired to fill the void left by a nationwide trend of decreasing volunteerism.
The year 2007 was a banner year for the company as it saw the construction and opening of the current ambulance station, the first and only permanent home that Wakefield EMS has had in its history. The leadership at Wakefield EMS has taken the initiative to become a local leader in EMS. Wakefield EMS now participates in Pennsylvania’s “Prepared for Pediatrics” recognition program and developed its own “Good Neighbor Checks” to identify high-risk patients within its response area and conduct weekly check-ups with this demographic.
In July 2017, Wakefield EMS increased its level of medical care to the Intermediate Advanced Life Support (IALS) level, becoming the first Basic Life Support agency in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and one of a dozen agencies in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pursue that license. The IALS program allows advanced-level providers at Wakefield EMS to utilize additional life-saving medications and therapies to treat patients with critical emergencies ensuring better care for patients.
By 2021, Wakefield EMS was awarded a supplemental licensure to allow them to teach certification courses and continued education courses through PADOH/NREMT. Wakefield EMS utilizes these license to train additional responders, advance current members certifications, and better prepare our responders for tomorrows emergencies.
Today, Wakefield EMS is a hybrid agency with both paid and volunteer personnel that responds to over 800 emergencies every year in its service area of 75 square miles. Overall, Wakefield EMS has grown considerably in nearly 50 years and is now a progressive, leading EMS agency.
The volunteers, staff, and Board thank you for your support and look forward to serving you for many years to come.