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 2016).
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, our two reserve ambulances are staffed at Pine Creek and Cougar.
NCEMS employs a Chief, three Battalion Chief/Paramedics to handle operations, logistics, and training, seven full-time Paramedics, four full-time EMTs, 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.
Our first-out ambulances are a 2019 Ford F-450 and a 2018 Dodge 5500. Each ambulance is equipped with state-of-the-art EMS equipment such as automated CPR devices, heart monitors, and video laryngoscopes. We also carry rope rescue, water rescue, and vehicle extrication equipment on each first-line ambulance.
NCEMS has always operated on the philosophy of treating all patients as friends and neighbors. As an example of how dedicated our personnel are to this motto, when both staffed ambulances are out on calls, department members, paid and volunteer, return to the station in Yacolt to staff third and fourth ambulances.
North Country EMS sponsors the Volcano Rescue Team (VRT), an MRA certified mountain rescue team. The VRT 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.
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.