Charleston County covers approximately 1100 square miles with a population of roughly 330,000. Charleston County EMS (CCEMS) is the primary 911-response provider and responds to over 50,000 calls each year. It is a county-based “advanced life support” (ALS) service, which has received numerous state and national awards. Multiple fire departments also provide first responder assistance on more critical calls. Most of these services operate at the “basic life support” level, though a few fire departments operate at the ALS level.
MUSC has its own ambulance service called Meducare, which occasionally provides mutual aid for CCEMS, as well as providing inter-facility transfer and critical care capabilities. Meducare also has a helicopter ambulance to bring seriously ill and injured patients from scenes and other hospitals around the state to MUSC for more advanced care.
Residents work with these agencies throughout their residency, with a focus on understanding how these agencies work (first year) and how physicians are involved in EMS (second and third years). This is accomplished through ride-alongs with CCEMS, Meducare Air, and the Charleston Fire Department once each month they are in the ED. Second and third year residents are assigned to one agency and its medical director to meet specific objectives on months they are in the ED, focusing on QI, education, and protocol development, among other things. Residents additionally may opt to join our Metro Marine unit, tactical teams, event medicine teams or other services to gain a greater understanding of prehospital care. Our residents will also have opportunities to learn and participate in disaster preparedness training and drills.