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Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

A-Z Index

In a medical emergency, seconds count. As first responders in the field, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are dispatched by a 911 operator to provide medical care in an out-of-hospital setting.

What's the difference between EMTs and paramedics?


  • Usually receive about 120 to 150 hours of training
  • Provide a level of care known as basic life support – patient assessment, CPR, bandaging, splinting broken bones, administration of oxygen and defibrillation
  • As part of the local rescue squad, EMTs ride in an ambulance and are responsible for transporting a patient to the hospital


  • Receive about 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training, and are often awarded a two-year degree
  • Trained and certified to provide advance life support – administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment
  • Arrive on the scene in a mobile intensive care unit (MICU) that follows the ambulance to the hospital, while one paramedic joins the patient in the ambulance

Bringing the emergency room into the community

Virtua Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the sole provider of paramedics throughout Burlington and Camden County. Virtua's paramedics receive nearly 2,000 hours of training and respond to more than 50,000 calls a year.

Virtua's EMS program consists of the three main components:

  • Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) 
    Virtua's Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) includes 11 advanced life support units (ALS). It employs more than 165 full- and part-time paramedics. The team works alongside other community ambulances and rescue teams to provide quality pre-hospital life support.
    This program also includes the Paramedic Bike Team, which is available during community events at no cost.

  • SouthStar 
    Virtua's SouthStar is the medical air transport helicopter for southern New Jersey. Based at Virtua Voorhees, the SouthStar helicopter provides airborne emergency medical services 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

  • EMS Education and Training 
    Virtua offers emergency care education and training for the general community as well as the pre-hospital community and the public safety sector, including police, fire, EMS and communications personnel.