About Us

Who We Are

The Villanova Emergency Medical Service is a 100% student-run, volunteer ambulance service licensed and dedicated to providing Basic Life Support (BLS) care to Villanova University’s campus community of approximately 12,000 students, faculty, and staff. The Villanova EMS membership consists of more than 50 undergraduate students, the majority of which are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our members volunteer more than 25,000 hours annually to provide emergency care for the Villanova community 24 hours/day, 7 days/week throughout most of the calendar year.

How We Started

Villanova EMS was originally founded as First Responders in late 1989 by undergraduate student Brian Herrick. Recognizing a lack of emergency medical care, Herrick, along with friends and fellow classmates, saw an opportunity for students to provide such care for the Villanova community. Initially, First Responders provided first aid at athletic competitions and other special events. Then in 1992, the first responders became recognized as Villanova EMS upon receiving its Quick Response Service (QRS) certification. This certification coupled with the purchase of a 1979 Ford van-type ambulance (appropriately nicknamed "The Beast"), allowed Villanova EMS members to respond to the scene of an emergency and provide medical care prior to the arrival of a transport ambulance responding from the neighboring Radnor Fire Company.

In the summer of 1996, Villanova EMS purchased a brand new Type III McCoy Miller ambulance on a Ford E-350 chassis. In 1997, Villanova EMS received its Basic Life Support (BLS) license from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Members we were now able to provide their patients with the best possible means of treatment and transport.

In 2002, Villanova EMS was relocated to the brand new Health Services Building, where it remains today. Amenities of the new headquarters include:

  • a fully furnished crew room,
  • a full kitchen and dining area,
  • a full bathroom,
  • two furnished bedrooms with five crew beds,
  • a walk-in equipment closet,
  • a computer room for electronic charting, and
  • an Executive Board/Administrative office.

In January of 2004, Villanova EMS received its brand new 2003 Horton 523 ambulance on a Ford E-450 chassis. This new vehicle replaced the seven year old ambulance, and currently provides the most comfortable ride and specialized equipment to properly care for patients.

In 2013, Villanova EMS replaced the 2003 Horton with a 2013 model, also an a Ford E450 chassis. This vehicle came equiped with more advanced safety features than its predecessor for both the crew and patients. This same year, Villanova Emergency Medical Service is is entering its 25th year of service to the Villanova Community. VEMS has come a long way from its humble beginnings were 50-75 calls per year was the norm. Now VEMS averages between 650-700 calls for service annually. In its 25-year history VEMS has responded to over 10,000 incidents, VEMS members have been recognized with several successful CPR saves and VEMS looks toward the future of continued service to the Villanova Community.

The Call Comes In

When a medical emergency occurs on campus, an individual should dial 9-4444 (from a campus phone) or (610) 519-4444 (from a cell phone) to reach a dispatcher for the Villanova University Department of Public Safety. Public Safety will then dispatch Villanova EMS. Should an individual dial 911 from a personal phone instead of contacting Public Safety directly, the county dispatcher will contact the Department of Public Safety to request that Villanova EMS be dispatched.

Once dispatched for a medical emergency, the duty crew responds in a fully licensed and equipped Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance. Due to the small size of our coverage area and location within campus, our average response time is less than three minutes. All life-threatening emergencies require the simultaneous dispatch of Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedics — typically Delaware County Medic 15 — from Radnor Fire Company. While Villanova EMS services are free of charge to all of our patients, those seen and/or treated by Medic 15 will be billed for ALS services.

Most patients requiring transport will be taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital, located just 1.5 miles from Villanova's campus. Villanova EMS does, however, transport to Lankenau Hospital and Paoli Hospital on a regular basis. More critically injured patients may require transport to a trauma center — typically Paoli Hospital. In rare instances, and under certain circumstances, Villanova EMS may request PennSTAR or MedEvac transport helicopters to transport critically injured patients to their final destination.


1992 Licensed as a Quick Response Service (QRS) by the Pennsylvania Department of Health
1995 Host of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF) annual conference
1996 Purchase of Type III MyCoy Miller Ford PowerStroke Turbo Diesel ambulance
1997 Licensed as a Basic Life Support (BLS) service by the Pennsylvania Department of Health
1999 Purchase of our first semi-automated defibrillator
2000 Awarded the Collegiate EMS Web Site of the Year (1999-2000) by the NCEMSF

Awarded a Volunteer Fire Company/Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)

Recognized by the NCEMSF for Striving for Excellence in Collegiate EMS


Honnored by the NCEMSF as the 2000-2001 Collegiate EMS Organization of the Year
2002 Headquarters relocated to the newly built Health Services Building
2004 Purchase of 2003 Horton 523 Ford E450 ambulance
2005 Host of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation annual conference
2006- Present Annually awarded a Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner Grant
2008 Co-host of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF) annual conference
2009 Recognized by the NCEMSF for Striving for Excellence in Collegiate EMS 
2011 Awarded 2nd Place in the Phisio-Controls Skills Competition by the NCEMSF
2013 Purchase of 2013 Horton E450 Ambulance

Our Location

Health Services Building

Villanova EMS is headquartered in the Health Services Building near the Villanova University main entrance on North Ithan Avenue.

Please click here to apply for membership online.