Ambulance Crews

GVA provides both basic and advanced life support services. The minimum basic ambulance crew is a driver and a medic. Additional people (two maximum) are allowed for training or assistance.

The Monroe County Emergency Communications Department (911 center) classifies all calls for emergency medical service according to their severity. They then dispatch GVA, advising us whether basic (BLS) or advanced (ALS) service is likely to be needed. For serious calls, such those for trouble breathing, heart attacks, strokes and serious injuries, an ALS ambulance or a BLS ambulance with an ALS fly-car respond.

GVA usually staffs a minimum of three ALS ambulances during weekdays and two at other times.


Basic Life Support (BLS):

As required for ambulance certification by the NYS Department of Health, all medics must hold at least a NYS emergency medical technician (EMT) certificate. Since July 1, 2009, GVA has exceeded the state specifications by also requiring all drivers to be EMTs.

The emergency medical technician (EMT) course, which takes approximately 100 hours, provides people with the emergency medical knowledge and skills necessary to care for the sick and injured in a prehospital setting. Topics include:

  • recognition and treatment of respiratory and circulatory emergencies.
  • trauma.
  • medical emergencies.
  • environmental injuries.
  • emergency childbirth.
  • psychological emergencies.

All EMTs are trained in CPR and defibrillation (electrical restoration of a normal heartbeat).


Advanced Life Support (ALS):

In order to provide ALS service, many GVA personnel have more advanced training.

The intensive eighteen-month EMT-Paramedic program prepares a person who is already an experienced EMT to care for the sick and injured at an advanced level. This course covers topics that include:

  • basic anatomy and physiology.
  • advanced patient assessment techniques.
  • airway management.
  • respiratory emergencies.
  • surgical airway procedures.
  • cardiac care, including external pacing and cardioversion.
  • 12-lead EKG interpretation.
  • pharmacology.
  • venous access and medication administration.
  • advanced treatment for hypoperfusion.
  • pediatric emergencies.
  • caring for the elderly.
  • chest decompression.
  • special immobilization techniques.
  • medical documentation.

The course also requires completion of rotations in:

  • emergency department.
  • IV team.
  • morgue.
  • medical and surgical intensive care units.
  • pediatrics and pediatric intensive care units.
  • labor and delivery department.
  • psychiatric department.

and advanced prehospital experience.



The Public Safety Training Facility website has more detailed descriptions of available courses and class schedules. The NYS Department of Health website gives the details of the course curricula. The Monroe Community College paramedic program is described on their website.

In addition to their initial training all personnel participate in continuing education. State certification must be renewed every three years and there are required yearly reviews on a variety of topics, such as

  • Hazardous materials
  • Protection from bloodborne pathogens
  • OSHA regulations for crew safety