North Country Emergency Medical Service (NCEMS), founded in 1976, is a public EMS agency operating from Clark County Fire District 13 in Yacolt, WA. Yacolt is located in northeast Clark County with a drive time of about an hour from downtown Portland, OR. NCEMS serves approximately 1000 square miles in parts of Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania Counties. The ambulance and rescue service covers most of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and surrounding wilderness areas.
NCEMS serves a predominately rural area with a population of approximately 20,000 inhabiting several small communities. Response time to an incident can vary from minutes to over an hour. Transport to a hospital can run from 45 minutes to 2 hours. We responded to 1486 calls in 2017 (6% increase in calls from 2017).
Stations are staffed year-round in Yacolt and Fargher Lake. The ambulances are staffed with a Paramedic and an EMT. Volunteer EMTs may also ride out on the ambulances to help assist the Paramedics.
During the summer months, an ambulance and a rescue unit are staffed at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to handle the increased tourist and wilderness related EMS needs of those visiting or recreating in the area.
North Country EMS sponsors the Volcano Rescue Team (VRT), an MRA certified mountain rescue team, is part of NCEMS and handles the search and rescue incidents in the Mount St. Helens wilderness area. The VRT is also the backup technical rescue organization for NCEMS and assists with wilderness/backcountry EMS incidents. Many NCEMS members are also members of the VRT.
NCEMS employs a Chief, two Battalion Chief/Paramedics to handle operations, logistics, and training, seven shift Paramedics, a finance & administrative manager, and a Billing Specialist. A resident program employs up to seven paramedic students who serve as crew partners on ambulances. A staff of part-time Paramedics and EMTs are employed to complete agency staffing. The agency also utilizes volunteers in various EMS and administrative capacities.