Highlights of our History
On February 27, 1996, Lancaster EMS (also known as 'LEMSA') was incorporated as a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) emergency medical services association. This was the result of a consolidation between the Advanced Life Support (ALS) of St. Joseph Hospital (now Lancaster Regional Medical Center), which originally launched into operation in 1972, and those of Community Hospital of Lancaster, who's pre-hospital ALS service originated in 1977.
At 0700 hours on April 28th, 1996, the new entity became operational. This new service was responsible for providing 9-1-1 ALS service to eighteen municipalities across Lancaster County. To do this, Lancaster EMS operated ALS units at five separate sites. Additionally, Lancaster EMS leased EMS personnel to multiple independent EMS agencies to assist with staffing needs.
One of the agencies leasing personnel from Lancaster EMS was the East Lampeter Ambulance Association. This ambulance company, which had been serving its area since August of 1948, merged into Lancaster EMS in November of 1997, the first BLS agency to do so. As a result, Lancaster EMS's role was now expanded to encompass all aspects of EMS response in the area previously served by the East Lampeter Ambulance Association. This move led to a period of rapid growth and development for our organization.
One of the areas in which Lancaster EMS soon experienced the greatest growth was that of non-emergency transport. Initially, launched in May of 1997, this service built slowly at first but began a dramatic upswing in the spring of 1998. As a result, our first non emergency vehicle was added in August 1998. Simultaneously, service hours were increased for both BLS and ALS units in response to the increased demand.
The next great milestone was then reached on January 24th, 1999. On this date, the prehospital services of Lancaster General Hospital, an ALS EMS service dating back to 1973, merged into Lancaster EMS. This was finalized by LGH becoming a member organization of Lancaster EMS on March 26, 1999, and marked the first major cooperative effort between three competing Lancaster City hospitals.
On October 9, 1999, a fifth organization became part of Lancaster EMS-the West End Ambulance Association (WEAA). WEAA began serving Millersville Borough, Manor Township, and portions of Lancaster City with excellence since 1973.
Then on October 1, 2001, the Strasburg Community Ambulance Association, incorporated in 1948, merged into Lancaster EMS. At the time of the merger, Lancaster EMS transitioned the Strasburg operation to a 24/7 ALS service. Prior to this merger, Strasburg Community Ambulance Association operated as a BLS service.
The most recent merger occurred on August 1, 2012, when the Providence Township Ambulance Service joined their BLS operations into Lancaster EMS. This merger resulted in a care upgrade to 24/7 Advanced Life Support services based in New Providence, PA.
Lancaster EMS is one the largest, most unique nonprofit EMS organizations in the State, serving all or portions of 13 municipalities in Lancaster County.