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History of VEMS

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 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 provided the most comfortable ride and specialized equipment to properly care for patients at its time.

In the summer of 2013, Villanova EMS replaced the 2003 Horton with a 2013 model, also on a Ford E-450 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 entered its 25th year of service to the Villanova Community.

In the Fall of 2015, Villanova EMS opened radio communications with Delaware County Fireboard, changing its status from Ambulance 85-29 to Ambulance 85-7. The ability to communicate directly with County dispatchers allows VEMS members to request, cancel, re-direct and advise responding County resources more effectively than ever before. This achievement has been recognized as a long-standing committment by VEMS members to providing the best possible care to its patients.

In the Spring of 2016, Villanova EMS made the decision to upgrade its older model stretcher to a state-of-the-art power cot and autoload system. Not only does this system support the health and safety of crew members, but also provides added comfort and security for any patients while riding in the ambulance.

VEMS has come a long way from its humble beginnings were 50-75 calls per year was the norm. VEMS now averages between 650-700 calls for service annually. In its more than 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.

Our Location

Health Services Building

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