Frequently Asked Questions


Some Basic Answers to Common Questions
What does EMS stand for?

EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services, a 911 emergency ambulance service

How do I contact New Canaan EMS if I have a medical emergency?

Always call 911 if you have a medical emergency! If you are calling from a cell phone, always give the dispatcher your location and phone number, in case you are disconnected. Explain the nature of your emergency to the dispatcher who answers your call. The dispatcher will immediately send help. Try to remain calm and ​do not hang up the phone​.

Who responds when I call 911 in New Canaan?

In New Canaan, the Police are the designated first responders and a police officer will respond to every 911 call. The NCEMS response will include an ambulance with a minimum of two EMTs. If the 911 call is for a more serious or life threatening injury, the paramedic will also be dispatched and will respond in NCEMS’s dedicated paramedic vehicle (known as the “fly car”). If the emergency involves a fire, environmental hazard, fluid spill, or a need for extrication, New Canaan Fire will be dispatched as well.

What makes Paramedics different?

Paramedics have an expanded scope of practice as compared to EMTs.

A newly certified EMT will have had approximately 190 hours of training. An EMT's scope of practice is limited with regard to administration of medications and generally speaking, does not include breaking the skin.

Paramedics receive anywhere from 1600-1800 hours of training. A Paramedic's scope of practice is much more extensive and includes starting IV lines, administering 30-40 medications, and utilizing advanced airway management devices to support patient breathing.

How much does NCEMS charge for its services?

NCEMS does not charge for its emergency response, patient care, and transport to Stamford or Norwalk Hospital. We pride ourselves in our ability to provide state of the art emergency medical care free of charge to our patients.

Where does New Canaan EMS get its funding?

The Town of New Canaan is the primary source of our revenue and funds the majority of our annual operating costs. The largest of these costs is the contractual cost of providing dedicated paramedic services on location at our headquarters 24/7/365. The town also pays for utilities, cleaning, and maintenance expenses associated with our HQ building, vehicle maintenance and repair, and the purchase of medical supplies.

New Canaan EMS's remaining operating costs are funded from the generous donations received from our supportive New Canaan community. Your donations are critical to our ability to continuously provide the highest level of pre hospital care, as they permit us to purchase state of the art patient care equipment and provide ongoing educational opportunities for our members. We are grateful to be part of this generous and caring community.

How many people volunteer at New Canaan EMS?

NCEMS has approximately 50 members. We are all certified EMTs and we are all volunteers. In addition to our weekly shifts, our members also run the organization - we purchase and inventory ambulance supplies, schedule vehicle maintenance, pay bills, and coordinate continuing medical education classes and drills for our members.

Do I need to live in New Canaan to become a member of NCEMS?

Absolutely not! While most of our members live in town, many come from surrounding communities, New York City, and beyond.

Do I need to have a medical background to become an EMT?

No medical background is required. Our members come from all walks of life - some with medical knowledge, but most without - all of whom have a desire to help members of our community. The EMT course will prepare you for working as an EMT, and every new member of NCEMS is mentored and given thorough "on the job training" until they become confident providers of emergency medical care.

I am busy. I have a full time job and a family. Can I still become an EMT and volunteer with NCEMS?

YES, absolutely! Our EMTs are dedicated to serving their neighbors in their time of need, despite their busy schedules as parents, homemakers, business executives, lawyers, teachers, accountants, tradespeople, students, healthcare providers, and the like. We have different shifts available for our volunteers and do our best to help members choose shifts that best fit their schedules and commitments.

How do I apply to become a member of New Canaan EMS?

We are excited you are interested in joining us! If you are already a certified EMT, or are at least 21 years old and enrolled in an EMT course, you are welcome to apply for membership with NCEMS. Learn more about our application process here.

Can High School students become members of NCEMS?

Yes! NCEMS welcomes applications from high school students who are at least 16 years old, have already completed the EMT course and are certified EMTs, and whose application is received on or before September 1st of their Senior year of High School. You can find more membership information here.

How will I pay for the cost of my EMT training if I am a volunteer?

The cost of the EMT course is typically an upfront cost to you, unless you are able to secure a scholarship or apply for free tuition. NCEMS offers full reimbursement of tuition to its members after they have completed one year of service as an active member of NCEMS.

Are any members of NCEMS paid?

NO. All of NCEMS's members are certified EMTs who volunteer their time to our community. Our members not only respond to 911 calls, but also take care of the running of the business of emergency medical response including coordinating continuing medical education seminars for our volunteers, ordering medical supplies and equipment, managing vehicle maintenance and repair, managing finances (bill paying, budgeting, financial planning, and tax preparation), scheduling shifts to ensure adequate staffing, and fundraising.

What happens to the money I donate to NCEMS?

Your donations help us purchase and maintain state of the art patient care equipment, radios and pagers, and provide supplemental educational opportunities for our members, all of which are absolutely critical to our ability to consistently and continuously provide our patients with the highest level of pre hospital medical care.

Does New Canaan EMS ever respond to emergencies in other towns?

Yes. If a neighboring town has more patients than its emergency service can handle, New Canaan may be called to respond. This is called Mutual Aid. We provide it to surrounding towns - and they do the same for us. If NCEMS is asked to respond to a Mutual Aid call, the ambulance will not leave town until we have a fully staffed ambulance available to cover New Canaan.

Our paramedic DOES NOT respond to Mutual Aid calls - the paramedic is a dedicated resource to New Canaan and is made available for New Canaan medical emergencies only.

How does New Canaan EMS differ from other local EMS services?

NCEMS is one of only two EMS services in the area that is staffed 100% by certified EMTs who volunteer their time to provide emergency medical care to all patients free of charge (Weston, CT EMS is the other service).