The first organized 9-1-1 ambulance service in Worcester, MA was at first operated by the Worcester Police Department in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1977, the Worcester City Hospital initiated the first “Worcester EMS”, providing only one or two basic life support (BLS) ambulances per shift to cover the City. By the mid-1980’s, the staff had transitioned to all-intermediate or paramedic, and the service has remained advanced life support (ALS) capable to this day. Through the years, in recognition of the increase in emergency calls from the community, the number of resources increased to where it stands today, with four (4) ALS units in-service in the City of Worcester 24-hours a day. In 2001, UMass Memorial EMS assumed responsibility for 9-1-1 ambulance service in the neighboring Town of Shrewsbury, MA, where one unit is in-service 24-hours a day. Additional units are regularly added to the tour complement as special events or other needs arise. First responder services in these communities are provided by the Worcester Fire Department and Shrewsbury Fire Department, and our field providers maintain an extraordinary working relationship with these professional fire departments.
Worcester EMS is one of the few remaining EMS services in Massachusetts that maintain a two-paramedic crew configuration on our advanced life support ambulances. We firmly believe that this is the best way to ensure that the communities we serve receive the highest possible level of expertise and clinical care. We are also one of only four services in Massachusetts that have received a Special project Waiver (SPW) from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of EMS, to perform medically enhanced pre-hospital intubation (MEI), a life-saving procedure that allows our paramedics to quickly and definitively control a patient’s airway in situations where additional compromise to the airway and breathing could be catastrophic for the patient. We provide this service not only in the City and Town, but also as a mutual-aid benefit to neighboring communities when requested and available.
In Worcester and Shrewsbury, 9-1-1 calls for emergency medical assistance are received first by the municipal police department or communications center, and then forwarded to our EMS Communications Center for prioritization and dispatch. All UMass Memorial EMS resources – including partner backup agencies – are controlled from the same EMS Communications Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus. Worcester EMS can communicate via VHF, UHF, and 800mhz radio to each of the public safety agencies with whom we work side by side.
Our EMS ambulance fleet consists of fifteen (15) Class I transport ambulances and three (3) Class V non-transport SUV’s that are used primarily by our supervisors. UMass Memorial EMS is continually replacing and updating the ambulance fleet and we have our own fleet maintenance services at UMass Memorial to keep the fleet operating at peak performance.
Interested in Photos of Our EMS Vehicles?
Our friend Michael Boynton has developed a website that showcases UMass Memorial's EMS fleet, as well as virtually every other EMS and Fire Department in New England. To see outstanding, hi-resolution photos of our EMS apparatus, please visit his website, massfiretrucks.com, and search for "Worcester EMS".
Another excellent web site featuring UMass Memorial EMS ambulances is maintained by professional photographer Andrew Size, who showcases not only our newest EMS vehicles, but also has many historical photos of our older vehicles and apparatus we have used through the years. Please visit his site by clicking here.