A Brief History of Ambulance Services in Camden

FIRST AMBULANCE - Lts. William Bryant (left) and Fred Scheitzer of teh Camden City Police Department worked as a team more than 50 years ago on the city's first ambulance. The department first began using the horse-drawn buggies for ambulance purposes in 1907. Prior to that the vehicles were used as patrol wagons only. The fire department was first mechanized in 1910 and the other departments soon followed suit.

Camden’s new automobile police patrol and ambulance were put in service on July 14, 1910. One of the first drivers was Albert T. York, who eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant on the Camden Police Department.

Prior to late 1973, the Ambulance Squad was being run by the City Police and Fire Departments. At that time the City of Camden started hiring Civilian Ambulance Drivers. Some employees had basic first aid. From the early 1960s through November of 1974 the Ambulance service was under the Camden City Police Department.

In November of 1974, the responsibility for operating the Ambulance service was transferred to the City of Camden Department of Health, with the City of Camden hiring Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). The ambulance drivers that were already working, trained the new EMT’s on the street, and then, the City sent all the ambulance drivers to EMT school in February of 1975.

The ambulances in 1974 was then stationed at the First Police District headquarters at 5th Street and Taylor Avenue. In November of that year, they were moved to the old Convention Center which was on Haddon Avenue and Mickle Boulevard, across from Cooper Hospital, and after a relatively short time moved again, this time to the Third Police District house at 27th and Federal Streets, behind the Firehouse. In June of 1976 the Ambulance moved once again, this time to a building that had been a Gulf gasoline station for over 30 years.

The City of Camden ran the Emergency Medical Service, which was called City of Camden Emergency Medical Service, from late 1973 to June 1980 at which time they contracted the Emergency Medical Service to a private company called Certified from North New Jersey. The ambulance service was then known as the Camden Emergency Medical Service. In September of 1986 the Emergency Medical Service was taken over by UMDNJ – University Hospital, from Newark New Jersey.

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