Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services
Ambulance Division

The Ambulance Division is responsible for providing the finest prehospital emergency medical care to the sick and injured citizens and guests of the 88 neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh. It is not uncommon for our ambulances to answer several hundred calls for service in any 24 hour period. According to recent statistics we receive roughly 178 calls per day!

The Ambulance Division is comprised of 13 Medic Units receiving calls from the 911 Dispatch Center, and is overseen by two District Chiefs during daily operations. These Medic Units are spread out across Pittsburgh better allowing for us to respond in the most effective and efficient manner. Also, in coordination with the Center for Emergency Medicine, a Physician is able to respond to the scene at the request of our Paramedics to assist with the treatment of particularly critical patients.

Along with the emergency treatment and transport of patients, the Ambulance Division is also responsible for providing medical coverage for special events throughout the City of Pittsburgh. From neighborhood functions to large events like the G20 Summit in 2009, paramedics are present at a large variety of special events.

What is ALS?

ALS means Advanced Life Support. Advanced Life Support is the umbrella term for the skills and training to perform the complex life saving procedures and interventions that a critically ill or injured person may need to survive, in addition to BLS (Basic Life Support), which includes skills like bandaging, splinting and administering oxygen.

What is a Paramedic?

Highly trained paramedics initiate treatment to stabilize patients prior to commencing transport to the hospital. In some cases a Paramedic can completely reverse the condition allowing for the patient to remain at home. For specific conditions, stabilizing the patient at the scene frequently allows for the reversal of life-threatening conditions that otherwise would result in a long term detrimental outcome if treatment was postponed until arrival at a hospital.

Paramedics administer treatment and medications for a variety of conditions including: chest pain, trouble breathing, heart failure and emphysema as well as treating a host of other medical conditions. We also treat patients with various traumatic injuries ranging from the broken nose to the most significantly injured patients.

All of our Paramedics are also state certified in various rescue practices, which allows all of our personnel to interchangeably work on either a Medic Unit or Rescue Truck. Many of our Paramedics are also certified in numerous other categories that allow our personnel to respond to calls for assistance from specialty teams such as the Urban Search and Rescue Team, PA Strike Team-1, Allegheny County Hazmat Medical Response Team, City of Pittsburgh HazMat and Allegheny County HazMat, just to name a few. As well as being certified in so many different domains, many of our Paramedics are actually instructors in a wide variety of Public Safety disciplines and several serve as field preceptors for Paramedic students and emergency physicians.

What's on your Medic Unit?

Every Medic Unit in the Bureau is certified by The PA Department of Health - Bureau of EMS to meet the requirements set forth by the state detailing the equipment and supplies that must be carried to adequately treat the ill and injured residents and visitors of the City. A brief list of what you can find on an ambulance would include the following equipment and supplies:

  • Oxygen
  • Oxygen Masks/Nasal Cannulas
  • Phillips MRx Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillator
  • Bandaging/Splinting supplies
  • Backboard/Cervical Immobilization Devices
  • IV Supplies and Fluids
  • Medications
  • Basic and Advanced Airway Supplies and Equipment
  • Stretcher and Linens
  • Specialized Pediatric Equipment
  • Portable Suction Unit
  • Small and Large Hand Tools
  • PFDs (Life Jackets)
  • Child Safety Seat
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • HazMat Equipment
  • Water Rescue Rope Throw Bag
  • Various Other Equipment and Supplies

Medics 1 and 11Homewood
Medic 2Knoxville
Medic 3West End
Medic 4North Side
Medic 5Upper Hill District
Medic 6Garfield
Medic 7Squirrel Hill
Medic 8Beltzhoover
Medic 9 and Rescue 1North Oakland
Medic 10Marshall-Shadeland
Medic 12Hays
Medic 14 and Rescue 2Downtown
EMS HeadquartersShadyside

*MCU-1 is a Mass Casualty Unit available as a Region 13 asset. This Rescue truck is a non-staffed truck that responds to Mass-Casualty incidents. This vehicle is equipped with ten sets of Advanced Life Support gear with extra long back boards and other gear and equipment needed at a large incident.


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