As the Gloucester County Emergency Medical Services (GCEMS) celebrates its fifth anniversary, the regionalized service has more to celebrate than just longevity.
After its start in 2007, Freeholder Robert Damminger announced in a press release that GCEMS currently holds a systemwide average response time of under six minutes. This average response time is more than three minutes faster than the Commissions of Accreditation of Ambulance Services' average target response time at eight minutes and 59 seconds.
“Regionalization filled the void in staffing, enhanced the infrastructure, and improved training,” said Damminger. “Best of all, regionalization has allowed for the strategic placement of crews to call volume and ensured that the closest ambulance is dispatched to the patient.”
GCEMS comprises sixteen municipalities, including West Deptford.
There are currently 11 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) stations—22 ambulance and multiple support vehicles—that make up GCEMS.
“Our staff goes above and beyond and performs to the highest standards for quality and excellence,” said Giuseppe 'Joe' Chila, freeholder deputy director and liaison to GCEMS.
GCEMS operate a fully functional patient simulator lab, the first in New Jersey. They are also the first to construct and operate a bariatric ambulance—which features specialized lifting and moving equipment.
Personnel that make up GCEMS include paramedics, critical care nurses, a physician’s assistant, student paramedics and a “hands-on” physician medical director—certified in emergency medicine.
Chila stated before GCEMS some towns seemed to lag in response time, which was unacceptable for patients who expect a rapid response. However, that has now changed, due to regionalization.
“We are very proud of our GCEMS staff and leadership and all that they do for our residents and visitors,” said Chila.
In 2011, the New Jersey EMS Council, Office of Emergency Service, awarded GCEMS the Career EMT of the Year Award and the EMS Physician of the Year Award. GCEMS also won the Public EMS Agency of the Year Award in 2010.
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