Phone: (508) 421-5705 - (Call 911 for an EMERGENCY)

  • Helo 1
  • Child in Bus
  • Flight Crew
  • Driver and bus

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When should you call 911?

Call 911 during any emergency where people or property are at risk.

What you should know when dialing 911?

  • At home, you can dial 911 direct.
  • At a business or other location, you may need to dial an outside line before dialing 911, for example in some cases you may need to dial 9-911.
  • At a pay phone, 911 is a free call that requires no coins.
  • When using a cellular phone, be prepared to give the exact location of the emergency. The call is free. In Massachusetts, the State Police answer all 911 calls made via cellular phone.
  • If the caller does not speak English, tell the call-taker the name of the language in English (for example “Spanish” instead of “español”). The caller must stay on the line while the call-taker contacts a translator service.

What you can do to help 911 help you!?

Remain calm and speak clearly. Identify which emergency service you require (police, fire, or ambulance) and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Your language, if other than English
  • Which emergency service you need: police, fire or ambulance
  • A description of what is happening
  • The location and nearest intersection
  • Your name, address and telephone number

Please remain on the line to provide additional information if requested to do so by the call-taker. Do not hang up until the call-taker tells you to do so! They are trained to ask several questions in order to ascertain the nature and severity of the emergency you are calling to report.

My family member does not speak English. What should they do in an emergency?

Explain to your family member to call 911 even if they don’t speak English. Say the name of the language they speak in English (for example “Spanish” instead of “español”), and wait on the line until the call-taker can get the translation service on the line.

What do Paramedics do?

People in our service area depend on the quick reaction and attentive care of the UMass Memorial EMS Paramedics. They respond to an average of 100 emergencies each day, providing medical assistance to anyone in need. Paramedics respond to emergencies ranging from automobile accidents to major fires. When they arrive at an emergency, they quickly determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition. They provide emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient to a local medical facility. Paramedics can provide advanced life support (ALS) services to patients during medical emergencies. Their advanced training enables them to perform some invasive procedures and dispense medications under the supervision of a physician.

Why do I receive a bill for ambulance service?

Service isn’t free, and in fact, ambulance service, both air and ground, bear significant overhead and preparedness costs in order to be available to serve the community 24/7. In most cases, your ambulance bill is covered by your health insurance. Sometimes, your insurer will send the reimbursement to you, and not directly to the ambulance service provider. You should be prepared to remit this to the EMS provider once you receive the bill for ambulance service.

Does insurance cover air ambulance transport?

The simplest answer is “Sometimes”: There are a number of factors involved with determining whether or not an insurance carrier will pay for air ambulance transportation. Each patient situation is unique and provides many different nuances that are not clearly definable within a given formula.

Do all hospitals have helipads?

No. Hospitals are not required to have a helipad for the transport of patients. UMass Memorial EMS works with all the regional community hospitals to ensure that if a helipad is not available on the hospital’s property, that a nearby landing zone is identified and that safe transport of the patient to the landing zone will be accomplished using local ambulance providers. UMass Memorial EMS has hundreds of pre-designated landing zones identified in communities across the state, and we share our information on landing zones amongst the several air medical programs in New England in order to ensure safety.

Why can’t a regular ambulance transport patients? Why use a helicopter?

An air ambulance is used when every minute counts to save a life: a critically ill patient needing immediate surgery or highly specialized care; a child drowning; an accident victim with life threatening injuries; a premature newborn; etc. However, the most important consideration is the advanced level of care that our critical care transport program brings to the patient’s side – very simply, nobody else in the region can provide the same level of care as our people can. UMass Memorial Life Flight is staffed with specially trained flight nurses, doctors, and paramedics who are able to administer specialized medications, advanced interventions, and provide a much higher level of care.

Who regulates air ambulances in Massachusetts?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates the operability of the air ambulances, the qualifications and responsibilities of the pilots and non-medical equipment. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulates all medical aspects of an air ambulance including medical personnel licensing, equipment, level of care, medications and inspections. There are no laws or regulations regarding the specific flight patterns of air ambulances because they are non-scheduled, fly in various directions transporting patients to and from hospitals and emergency scenes, and must vary their path to adjust for other air traffic, tall structures and weather conditions. They generally fly certain corridors over major arterial streets and highways until they get in the proximity of the hospital or accident scene where they are landing and taking off. UMass Memorial Life Flight does its best to avoid residential areas in order to minimize noise, but cannot always do so in the interest of the patients we’re transporting.

Can a patient’s family members go with the patient in the air ambulance?

Whenever possible, we try to allow a family member to accommodate the patient, as required by Massachusetts regulation. However, there are many variables that enter into this decision, so it is made on a case-by-case basis in the interest of safety.

What kinds of patients are you equipped to transport in the helicopter?

We are equipped and trained to transport all types of patients both as planned transports and emergent ill transports, including adults, children, and high risk obstetrical patients. In concert with a UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care team, we can also transport neonatal patients.

Medical Records Requests: Worcester EMS

If transported by Worcester EMS, a patient’s medical record is the physical property of UMass Memorial Medical Center, however, the patient has the right of access to review the record and to obtain a copy. Medical records must be completed by all providers involved in the patient’s care prior to being copied and released to the patient. This process can take up to 30 days. Patient-related information may be released to a physician or medical facility for follow up and continued care of the patient when needed. Patients who wish to receive a copy of their medical records or to have their medical records forwarded to another party must fill out an Authorization Form. UMass Memorial will process the request and send an invoice for payment for the copies. After full payment is received, the copies will be processed, mailed or made available to the patient or a designated individual for pickup within seven to 10 business days. To obtain a copy of medical records, please complete an Authorization Form and return it to:.

Health Information Management – UMMMC
Telephone: (508) 334-5700
Fax: (508) 334-9721

For an authorization form, please visit UMass Memorial Medical Center Medical Record Requests.

For copies of an ambulance bill ONLY, please call 1-855-622-6788. Ambulance billing is performed by Quick Med Claims.

Please do NOT contact the UMass Memorial EMS Department directly, as we CANNOT and WILL NOT share patient information with telephone callers under any circumstances.

Medical Records Requests: UMass Memorial Lifeflight

If transported by UMass Memorial Lifeflight, a patient’s medical record is the physical property of Air Methods Corporation, however, the patient has the right of access to review the record and to obtain a copy. Patients who wish to receive a copy of their air ambulance transport records or to have their records forwarded to another party must formally request this via Air Methods Patient Business Services (PBS).

Air Methods Patient Business Services
Telephone: (909) 915-2930
Fax: (402) 952-2413
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please do NOT contact the UMass Memorial EMS Department directly, as we CANNOT and WILL NOT share patient information with telephone callers under any circumstances.

Medical Records Requests: Public Safety and Police Departments

Please call us at (508) 421-5700 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information about how to communicate with us regarding legitimate public safety or police department requests for records. Again, please note that we CANNOT and WILL NOT share patient information with telephone callers under any circumstances, including law enforcement or a public safety department, without a subpoena or the appropriate documentation.

Can I volunteer with your service?

No. UMass Memorial EMS is a paid career EMS agency and all of our personnel are experienced medical providers. Unfortunately, Medical Center and aviation operator policies prohibit observers or volunteers from joining us on our ambulances or helicopters. We do have formal affiliations with recognized EMS training programs in the region, and we do provide internship and/or clinical rotation opportunities only for those students enrolled in these programs. Please email us for additional information.

I am a patch or pin collector, how do I get a WEMS or Life Flight collectible?

Email us! We’re glad to share our patches and pins with collectors.

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Our Department

UMass Memorial EMS is a Department of the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, the region’s only Level I ACS verified trauma center. UMass Memorial (Worcester) EMS is wholly owned and operated by the Medical Center. UMass Memorial Life Flight is operated by Air Methods Corp. (QMLA253U) and staffed by UMass Memorial Medical Center.