History of Clearfield EMS 

On June 16, 1932 Clearfield Fire Company Number One Ambulance service was pressed into action.  The first call was for an elderly woman with a fractured hip in Bailey Settlement.  At that time Clearfield Hospital, then known as Memorial Hospital, was operating an ambulance to serve the community.  It had broke down and was out of service when the call came in for Bailey Settlement.  Ever since that time Clearfield Fire Company Number One has been providing emergency medical services for the Clearfield region. 

Clearfield Fire Company Number One member J. Bruce Smith proposed the idea of Clearfield Fire Company Number One Ambulance Service in 1931.  He developed his idea after witnessing an ambulance in action in nearby Lewistown.  Mr. Smith presented his ideas to the general membership of the fire company to provide this service to the community.  Always eager to assist the community, Clearfield Fire Company Number One adopted the idea and developed plans for the project.  The country was in the midst of the Great Depression and the Fire Company was as strapped for money as everyone else at that time.  Treasure Orville Shugarts reported at this same meeting that the Fire Company had $3.64 to its name.  Realizing the opportunity to serve the Clearfield community and determined to establish an ambulance service, the Fire Company raised $1,200.00 for the project.  This was a great accomplishment during this era.  The Clearfield Trust Company loaned the Fire Company the remaining $1,295.00 needed to purchase the first ambulance, a Nash-Miller, from Clearfield Auto Supply Company.

From this point forward the service grew at unbelievable speed.  In 1942 the service handled 221 calls covering 1,757 miles.  By 1950 the call volume had more than doubled to 507 calls and 4,729 miles.  1970 brought about what many members had thought to be the maximum number of calls they would see: 956 calls covering 20,000 miles.

 By 1990, the trip volume grew so large the service found itself operating four ambulances and receiving more calls than the all-volunteer staff could handle.  Paid Emergency Medical Technicians were hired to staff the units.  This same year the service was re-organized and the name was change to Clearfield E.M.S.  Clearfield Fire Company Number One continues to own, operate, and maintain the service as Clearfield E.M.S. to this date. 

 In early 1993 Clearfield Fire Company Number One made a major commitment to improving patient care by making Clearfield E.M.S. an Advanced Life Support ambulance service.   This advancement was made with the cooperation of Clearfield Hospital to further promote quality patient care.  This advancement made Clearfield E.M.S. the provider of advanced life support Paramedic services to a majority of Clearfield County.  Which essentially brings emergency room type care into the community.  Clearfield E.M.S. Paramedics serve as the eyes, ears, and hands of the emergency room physician.  Since the inception of Paramedic services we have saved or reduced the suffering for numerous citizens and visitors of the Clearfield Region.

 In 2010 Clearfield Fire Company number 1 merged with the Clearfield Fire Department.  Clearfield EMS Inc. Was formed into a community Ambulance Service.  Clearfield EMS has persons from the Community that serve on the board.

 The service continues to grow and improve upon patient care capabilities.  In 2014, Clearfield E.M.S. was summoned for 3,950 calls and traveled over 100,000 miles.  The Board of Directors of Clearfield E.M.S. has long been committed to providing the tools necessary to provide the most advanced pre-hospital care available today.  We currently have an updated fleet of five advanced life support ambulances.  All are equipped with LifePak 15 diagnostic cardiac monitors.  These monitors provide us the tools to provide the highest level of care available to patients experiencing a problem related to their heart.   The LifePak 15 monitor is capable of recording a 12 lead EKG that helps to diagnose a heart attack.  All five units are also equipped with glucometers which check the amount of sugar in a patients blood, pulse oximiters that monitor the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood, equipment for establishing IVs, emergency life saving medications to administer to patients who require them, numerous devices for advanced airway control, bandaging, splinting, and patient moving devices to just name some of the equipment.  All of which is up to date and of top quality. 

 Since 1931 Clearfield Fire Company Number One has had a commitment to provide quality emergency medical services to the residents and visitors of the Clearfield area.  We continue to uphold this commitment by providing a quality not for profit emergency medical service organization that is owned and operated by local citizens and will continue to do so into and through the next millennium.


Compliance with the EMS Act

Clearfield E.M.S. has always been a fully licensed provider of Emergency Medical Services through the Department of Health, since the inception of the EMS Act, and our license has never been suspended or revoked.  Clearfield E.M.S. maintains and operates four advanced life support ambulances that provide service to the Clearfield region.  Clearfield E.M.S. is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an ALS / BLS ambulance service.  This licensure demonstrates Clearfield E.M.S’ compliance with the EMS Act including the requirements for response times.  Our average response time for emergency calls in 1999 was 1.72 minutes. Far exceeding the requirement to respond to requests for emergency services within 4 minutes.  The average time from dispatch to on scene in 2014 was 9.99 minutes again below the rural standard of 20 minutes as set forth in the EMS Act.  This dispatch to scene average time is even below the 10-minute guideline for urban emergency medical responses.




 Currently Clearfield E.M.S. staffs two-advanced life support ambulances twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.  During peak call times a third advanced life support ambulance is staffed at the station.  Additional units are staffed with on call, off-duty personnel who respond to the station to answer additional calls.  All units are staffed with a Paramedic and an Emergency Medical Technician. 

Personnel qualifications & training

All of our Paramedics are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  Much of our training exceeds the minimum state requirements.  In addition to their certification from the Department of Health all Paramedics are also trained in the following: cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC), and hazardous materials awareness and operations.  Paramedics are also required to complete at a minimum 18 hours of continuing education each year. 

All Clearfield E.M.S. personnel function within the standards established under the Pennsylvania EMS Act.  The EMS Act lists the following as the scope of practice for Paramedics:

1.      perform pulmonary ventilation by the use of oral, nasal, endotracheal or tracheostomy intubation.

2.      insert, in peripheral veins, intravenous catheters, needles or other cannulae-IV lines.

3.      obtain venous blood samples for analysis, but only for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

4.      prepare and administer approved medication and solutions by intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, intraosseous, oral, sublingual, topical, inhalation, rectal or endotracheal routes.

5.      perform defibrillation and synchronized cardioversion.

6.      perform gastric suction by nasogastric or orogastric intubation.

7.      insert nasogastric or orogastric tubes.

8.      visualize the airway by use of the laryngoscope a remove foreign bodies with forceps.

9.      apply electrodes and monitor cardiac electrical activity including electrocardiograms.

10.  perform vigil maneuvers.

11.  use mechanical cardio pulmonary resuscitation devices.

12.  assess and manage patients in accordance with the EMT-Paramedic training curriculum approved by the Department.

13.  perform thoracic decompression.

14.  perform criothyrotomy and pulmonary ventilation.

15.  perform central venous and intraosseous cannulation.

16.  perform external transthoracic pacing.

17.  perform urinary catheterization.

18.  access central venous lines and subcutaneous indwelling catheters.

19.  perform other ALS services authorized by the Department-approved regional EMS council transfer and medical treatment protocols.

  Emergency Medical Technicians are also certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  In addition to their certification from the Department of Health all EMTs are also trained in the following: cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, Emergency Vehicle Operators Course, and hazardous materials awareness and operations.

 Emergency Medical Technicians are permitted by the EMS Act to perform basic CPR, use automated external defibrillators, bleeding control, administer oxygen, basic emergency medical treatment of bleeding, shock, burns, heat and cold emergencies, poising, fractures, and child birth.

 Clearfield E.M.S. is also an accredited continuing education sponsor through the Pennsylvania Department of Health .  This allows us to provide continuing education to our personnel, as well as other EMS providers, that is approved and endorsed by the Department of Health.  We have several instructors on staff that allows us to continually provide education not only to our staff, but also to other EMS providers, industrial organizations, and the public.

Medical direction and continuous quality improvement

All Paramedics are required to work under the direction of an ALS Service Medical Director.  The ALS Service Medical Director is a physician who monitors the quality of services being provided, and is directly responsible for the care given in the field.  Clearfield E.M.S. works closely with local physicians and our ALS Service Medical Director to assure that we are providing the latest and best possible pre-hospital care available. 


Continuous quality improvement is an essential and key element of Clearfield E.M.S.’ ability to provide the high level of care that we provide.  Clearfield E.M.S. exceeds the minimum state mandated requirements for quality assurance and continuous quality improvement.  Clearfield E.M.S. has a comprehensive and aggressive program to assure that every patient receives the care that they deserve.  Every patient care record is reviewed by a Continuous Quality Improvement group to assure that the care given was appropriate, that the response met the EMS Acts requirements, and that local protocols and standing orders were followed.  These patient care records are then forwarded to the ALS Service Medical Director who again reviews them for compliance with all applicable laws, protocols, and standing orders.  These cases are then used to identify trends and implement continuing education to assure that the highest-level patient care is being provided to the patients of Clearfield E.M.S.  The CQI process is successful due to its focus on education and improved patient care. 

 Clearfield E.M.S. also challenges its employees to better themselves.  All employees  are encouraged to participate in continuing education and professional development courses.  It is the policy of Clearfield E.M.S. to enable its staff access to these types of programs by scheduling shifts around the classes, providing financial assistance for qualifying programs, and allowing employees to study while on duty.  All staff members are encouraged to expand their education to make them a more rounded employee. 


Community involvement

Clearfield E.M.S. has always been committed to being involved in the Clearfield Community.  We support, actively participated, and provided EMS coverage at the following community functions: Clearfield County Fair, Relay for Life, March of Dimes Walk America, Armed Forces Awareness Days, High Country Arts Festival, Clearfield Borough Police Awareness Day, Clearfield Fire Department Fire Awareness Day, and numerous activities at local schools and senior organizations.  Clearfield E.M.S. has also provided free first aid training to the Clearfield Area School District coaches. 


Service funding

 Clearfield E.M.S. is a charitable non-profit,  non-taxed supported provider of Emergency Medical Services.  All funding for the operation of the service comes from fees for services and our annual membership drive.  We also receive generous donations form area residents and business on occasion.


Challenges for the future

The future holds many challenges for Clearfield E.M.S.  The insurance industries transformation to managed care, combined with cuts in federal program reimbursements challenges us to become more innovative and proactive in obtaining reimbursements and exploring non-traditional avenues for funding.  We already participate in numerous study programs exploring alternate funding sources and non-traditional services to provide during crew down times.

We look forward to the evolution of Emergency Medical Services into an integrated part of the health care system.  We will continue only meet the challenges of the future and position ourselves at the forefront of this ever-changing industry.


A charitable non-profit, non-tax

Serving the Clearfield Region Since 1932