History of OCEMS
The History of Oldham County EMS
Like most EMS services, Oldham County EMS can draw its roots to the funeral homes and local constabulary. When a person was sick or injured, they were usually met with a hearse or a police car.
They were then whisked away to the closest hospital with no treatment en route. Then, in 1940 Milton Carl and Clayton Stoess purchased a Henney Packard. Since there wasn't a dispatch center, folks would call Milton Carl and his wife at home in Crestwood. They would then drop everything else and respond. The beginning of a time-honored tradition of selfless service.
Over the years, the state began training individuals as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The role of these people was to provide basic emergency care to the sick and injured on the scene and en route to the hospital.
The majority of these EMTs were members of local fire departments so it only made sense that these agencies would begin putting ambulances into their station. South Oldham Fire Department, Lagrange Fire Department, North Oldham Fire Department and Ballardsville Fire Department all began providing these services.
Realizing that they could do more, the EMTs expressed their desire to become paramedics. In 1985, the Oldham County Fiscal Court approved funding for ten of these EMTS to attend a paramedic course and in 1987, the first paramedics for Oldham County graduated.
In April of 1987, they hit the streets, volunteering their services from 5 PM to midnight, four to five nights per week.
The Oldham County Dispatch center dispatched the paramedics along with the fire department's ambulances..
As the population of the county grew, it became obvious that 24 hour coverage was necessary. In order to facilitate this, a referendum was placed on the November 1991 ballot to for the Oldham County Ambulance Taxing District. The referendum passed 2 to 1 and on April 1, 1992, Oldham County began full time paramedic coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Shortly thereafter, they merged with the volunteer ambulance services.
As the number of volunteer EMTs decreased during the day, and the run volume increased, the need for a paid staff was recognized. In January 1996, the agency began operating a full time staff from 6AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday. Other times were covered by volunteers. In 1998, a full-time night crew was added, making Oldham County EMS operational 24 hours a day.
In 2000, construction was completed on the EMS headquarter located off of West Highway 146 in Buckner, Kentucky. This marked the first time that EMS vehicles, EMS crews, command staff and office personnel would be under one roof.
Today, there are five ambulances available the majority of the time, with at least three paramedics on duty at any time.