- Eighteen Residents of New Canaan founded New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps ("NCVAC") in February 1975 .
- February 1975
First Year Operations
With the mission of consistently and compassionately providing the highest quality pre hospital medical care to our patients absolutely free of charge, NCVAC responded to 80 emergency calls in its first year of operation. Responding out of the basement of Town Hall, NCVAC's EMTs provided the community with 12 hours of coverage on weekdays and round the clock coverage on weekends.
In 1978 our fleet of emergency vehicles doubled! We purchased a used Horton ambulance to augment the services of our Cadillac Station Wagon.
- March 1983
First Dedicated Headquarters
After relocating several times between Town Hall and the Red Cross, in March 1983 NCVAC moved into its first dedicated headquarters building, a former school shop facility located next to the Police Station at 182 South Avenue, the location of our NCEMS Headquarters today. This was a huge facility for us at the time - it had garage space for two ambulances and sleeping quarters for members on overnight duty which allowed us to more quickly respond to overnight medical emergencies.
- May 1987
All NCVAC EMTs became certified to use defibrillators and we experienced our first AED assisted "save" later this year.
The Town of New Canaan contracted with Norwalk Hospital to provide 24/7 paramedic services to our town. The Norwalk Hospital paramedics work in conjunction with our State Certified EMTs, are trained to provide Advanced Life Support ("ALS") services, and respond directly from our headquarters. Our fleet of vehicles expanded again with the addition of a Paramedic Response Vehicle ("fly car") donated by the residents of New Canaan.
- September 2001
NCVAC Responds to 9/11 Terrorist Attack
On September 11, 2001, a day of national disaster, the members of New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps faithfully responded to the calls for help immediately following the terrorist attacks. Many committed EMTs stayed behind to protect and serve the Town of New Canaan. One NCVAC ambulance and an SUV traveled to Manhattan via police escort late that afternoon. Thirteen EMTs were dropped off at the Chelsea Piers Triage center while two EMTs staged our ambulance with sixty other area ambulances, awaiting the opportunity to treat and transport survivors of the attack. NCVAC's responders anxiously awaited the arrival of the sick and wounded, expecting to aid a multitude of patients who never came.
From NCVAC's book Remembrances of September 11, 2001: En route to Manhattan, "we held hands and spoke briefly of the horrors we should be prepared for. With our faith in each other, we were ready for the worst. We did not know then that the worst possible scenario would be the one we encountered - the one in which there would be no physical perils to face, no wounds to bandage, no blood to staunch, no survivors to treat."
Our Hearts Will Never Forget
Construction of New Headquarters
Faced with deteriorating systems and insufficient space, NCVAC sought to build a new and expanded HQ facility. Thanks to the generous support of the Town of New Canaan and its residents, we were able to demolish our old facility and began construction of a brand new LEEDS certified HQ. During construction, our EMTs responded to emergency calls from the third floor of the New Canaan Police Department.
- June 2009
Our new Headquarters was completed in June 2009, providing us with state of the art facilities with enough space for our EMTs to work, sleep, train, and eat. There is ample space in the attached garage for our fleet of emergency vehicles. Our training room is of sufficient size to accommodate all of our members for our monthly Continuing Medical Education seminars and allows us the opportunity to host community groups and sponsor EMT classes for members of our community.
NCVAC fully revamped its website to provide the community with links to additional community resources, how emergency medical services respond to emergencies, and information specific to NCVAC.
- April 2013
Town Wide Hands-Only CPR Training at New Canaan YMCA
NCVAC's Hands On New Canaan Program held Hands-Only CPR training sessions throughout the day on Sunday April 7th. All residents had the opportunity to come to the YMCA and learn how to perform Hands-Only CPR as well as how to use an Automated Electronic Defibrillator ("AED"). Our Hands On New Canaan Program continues to provide instruction to New Canaan residents, businesses, schools, community organizations, and church groups interested in learning these life-saving skills. Together, we can make a life-saving difference in our Town. Find out more about Hands On New Canaan here.
- March 2016
Please take a moment to watch this video directed and produced by New Canaan EMS member and then NCHS Senior, Peter Lavieri.
Continuous Updating of Equipment
We have continuously invested in state of the art equipment. Recent purchases include:
Four automated Stryker gurneys (eliminating much of an EMT's work of heavy lifting);
Three LUCAS machines which automatically provide consistent and continuous chest compressions during CPR;
New Automated Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs);
A training "dummy" for practicing our identification of breath sounds and related respiratory illnesses;
Digital radios, which enhance the clarity and range of our communications; and
High visibility jackets for our members' safety.
Our ability to make these valuable updates is made possible thanks to the generosity of our community.
Continuing Educational Opportunities for Members
Our members are given opportunities to practice skills necessary to proper and efficient handling of Mass Casualty and Shooting Incidents, mental health crises, and drug overdoses. These sessions are in addition to monthly Continuing Medical Education seminars at which we learn and practice new or updated patient care techniques and protocols. We have recently added CPAP and naloxone (narcan) treatments to our protocols.
All of our EMTs are State Certified EMTs and are certified in CPR to the professional level. Some of our members are nurses, firefighters, and paramedics. Many of our members have training in Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support, Identification and Treatment of Victims involved in Human Trafficking, and Assessment of Mental Health situations. This training provides additional tools to help us uphold our mission of providing our patients with the highest quality pre hospital medical care.
After almost 40 years as New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NCVAC), we changed our name to New Canaan EMS (NCEMS) and modernized our logo.
ReBranding Added to Vehicles
As part of the rebranding, we have "re-wrapped" our three ambulances, fly car, and utility vehicle with the new colors and renewed styling. Please watch the video of how Gagnon Sign rewrapped NCEMS ambulance #351.
- January 2020
NCEMS Launches New Website
We hope you enjoy learning more about NCEMS as you navigate through our website. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our team or would like more information about our Programs.
- NCEMS's members continue to fulfill the mission put forth by our founders in July 1975: To consistently and compassionately provide the highest quality pre hospital medical care to our patients absolutely free of charge. We carry out this mission 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, and will be forever grateful to our community for affording us the privilege to do so.