Rapid and effective care is the basis of the First Responder system. A variety of medical emergencies are encountered by First Responders on a daily basis, therefore First Responders and EMTs are trained to provide basic care. Although, the Johnson County First Responder services focus is on basic care, they have the ability to perform advanced treatments such as Automatic External Defibrillation and airway management. EMTs may assist patients with medications that may be necessary in medical emergencies. The First Responder network is an essential factor in the emergency response system and help make Johnson County a safer place to live.

Why does a fire truck and sometimes a police car come to my home when I request an ambulance?

In Johnson County all the fire departments do first response for the ambulance service. Often times they are able to arrive more quickly because of their locations throughout the county. The fire departments are all trained to provide patient care while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. All police cars in Johnson County are equipped with AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) and are also able to help provide lifesaving CPR before the paramedics arrive. The police are also there to provide safety in certain situations.

How do I call for an ambulance?

Pick up your phone and call 911. This will work from both land lines and cell phones. The dispatcher needs to know the reason you are calling, where you are located and a number they can call you back on if they need to. It is important to stay calm while providing this information to the dispatcher so they can understand you clearly. Staying calm will also help you in understanding important information the dispatcher may need to give you.

How many ambulances are there in Johnson County?

We staff three ambulances 24 hours a day with two paramedics in each ambulance. Two additional ambulances are staffed 16 hours a day. Two of the ambulances are stationed Iowa City at 808 Sputh Dubuque Street, two ambulances are stationed in Coralville Fire Station #2 and the fifth ambulance is stationed in Iowa City Fire Station #4. We have additional units that are available in the event of high call volumes and also for special events.

I just moved to Johnson County from another state where I was already trained as an EMT/Paramedic. How do I transfer my certification to Iowa?

Please visit the Iowa Bureau of EMS website at https://idph.iowa.gov/ems/ for reciprocity information.

Does Johnson County charge for their ambulance services?

Yes there is a fee for ambulance services. The fee is dependent on the services provided. In most cases if you are not transported, you will not be charged.

How many calls per year does Johnson County Ambulance attend to?

We respond to over 12,000 calls per year. We attend to a variety of calls including trauma, medical, and psychological emergencies; and we also provide routine transfers. We are the emergency provider of ambulance services to all of Johnson County with the exception of Jefferson and Monroe townships. We also provide service to Gower Township in Cedar County.

Who drives the ambulance?

At Johnson County, we provide two paramedics in each ambulance. The paramedics take turns between providing patient care and driving the ambulance. We often are called ambulance drivers. It is important to know that we are EMTs and Paramedics, able to provide lifesaving care, and we appreciate being recognized as an EMT or Paramedic.

When is it appropriate to call for an ambulance?

Always call when you are uncomfortable with a situation. Too often we find people try to get to the hospital without calling an ambulance. Please remember that we are able to provide care while going to the hospital in the ambulance. If something were to happen to your loved one while you are driving them yourself you will be unable to help them.

What should I do if I see an ambulance approaching me on the roadway?
State law requires all vehicles to slow and move to the right. This allows for the ambulance to pass safely on the left. If you are unable to move to the right we ask that you come to a complete stop and wait for us to pass. Failure to yield to an ambulance may result in fines.

Common Terms    

EMS – abbreviation for Emergency Medical Services.

BLS – Basic Life Support. This level provides basic airway management, CPR, and bleeding control.

ALS – Advanced Life Support. This level provides IV fluids, medications, heart monitoring, and advanced airway placement.

First Responder – the first level of certification a person can obtain to provide pre-hospital care.

EMT – Emergency Medical Technician – used to describe a person that is trained and certified by the state to provide BLS level of care in the pre-hospital setting. .

Paramedic– Used to describe a person that is trained and certified by the state to provide ALS level of care in the pre-hospital setting.

Medical Director – a local emergency physician contracted by Johnson County Ambulance, that directs all of the patient care protocols followed by Johnson County Ambulance. Paramedics and EMTs operate under the auspice of the physician’s license while providing pre-hospital care.

Medical Control – any on-duty emergency physician that the Paramedics and EMTs are able to contact for direction/advise while on scene. These physicians are familiar with our protocols and provide direction when needed accordingly. This physician assumes primary responsibility for decisions made about patient care at that time.