The Highlands County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was established in 1975. EMS is the sole state licensed EMS ambulance provider responsible for 24 hour-a-day 911 emergency medical response and ambulance transportation throughout the geographical boundaries of Highlands County. EMS has a total of nine (9) advanced life support (ALS) transport ambulances dedicated to emergency response 24 hours a day.
The Highlands County EMS builds on four (4) foundations:
- Excellence in the medical care delivered to our patients;
- Response time reliability to true emergency events;
- Providing EMS service in the most economically efficient manner possible; and
- Excellent customer service to our patients.
Our key objective is to reliably deliver the most appropriately trained person to the patient’s side in a timely manner and ensure each patient is directed to the most appropriate healthcare facility based on his/her medical condition.
The EMS team’s mission is “to provide the most outstanding pre-hospital care to the citizens and visitors of Highlands County. We will proudly provide an organized method of response to the perceived health needs of our community, providing basic and advanced pre hospital care at the highest quality level possible. We will provide these services by utilizing effective principles and practices of patient care while maintaining the dignity of those we serve.”
EMS core values are: Respect, Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion and Service.
All EMS ambulances are Advanced Life Support, or Paramedic staffed and equipped to provide the highest level of pre hospital emergency medical care and transportation. All EMS team members function under the medical license of Dr. Donald Geldart, the EMS Medical Director.
In year 2017, EMS experienced 17,526 total responses and transported 11,385 patients, or approximately 10% of the county population utilizes EMS services per year. The average response time county wide for arrival of an EMS Paramedic is 7.06 minutes, this is the time from when a 911 call is answered to arrival of EMS at the call location.
The EMS operating budget is funded by the General Fund. The cost of providing EMS service is offset by charging “User Fees” on ambulance transports and other events. The revenue generated by these fees greatly reduces the financial strain on the General Fund of the County and it provides residents and visitors to Highlands County with one of the best 911 EMS providers in the State of Florida.
The EMS budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 was $5.69 million, of which $3.5 million in revenue was received form user fees. This breaks down to a cost of $21.29 per person annually for your EMS system.
EMS remains focused on customer satisfaction of services as a part of our continuing process of seeking ways to improve the quality of the EMS system serving you.
Recipient of the 2018 American Heart Association's EMS Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award for excellence in pre hospital care of heart attack patients.