Residents in during an EMS rotation

Emergency medical services

Emergency medical services traditionally refers to the entire spectrum of care from the pre-hospital setting to the more definitive care provided in the Emergency Department at the VCU Medical Center. At VCU, residents are provided with exposure to a multifaceted EMS system, ranging from annual bioterrorism and mass casualty training, to suiting up with the flight team.

Richmond Ambulance Authority

Richmond Ambulance Authority External Link provides EMS coverage to approximately 62 square miles and serves a daytime population of more than one million people and nighttime population of about 200,000 people. RAA is one of the busiest ambulance systems in the nation (per capita).

RAA responds to approximately 50,000 calls per year, or 135 calls per day, transporting approximately 110 patients per day. The RAA system is extremely active compared with other cities of Richmond’s size, and RAA’s response times are among the fastest in the nation.

During the EMS rotation, residents ride along with the RAA crews and participate in the delivery of care.

Virginia Commonwealth University LifeEvac

VCU LifeEvac External Link serves the people of southern Central Virginia, offering critical care transportation services, including inter-facility transfers and scene transport, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The VCU LifeEvac medical crew comprises seven nurses and seven paramedics, with one flight nurse and one flight paramedic team on each mission. Every VCU LifeEvac medical team has been trained in the critical care of burn, trauma, cardiac and neurologically impaired patients. Combined, each medical crew team averages more than 25 years of experience in emergency medicine and critical care.

During the third-year EMS rotation, residents have the opportunity to fly with LifeEvac as much as they desire. There is also a third-year air medical transport elective in which residents participate in all aspects of LifeEvac operations.

Paramedic/fire rescue

In the counties surrounding Richmond — Henrico, Hanover, Goochland and Chesterfield — the EMS systems are staffed by professional firefighters and volunteer rescue squads. These systems provide EMS services to the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Each volunteer and professional EMS agency has an operation medical director who is ultimately in charge of the training and operating protocols of the agency. VCU’s Department of Emergency Medicine provides medical direction to Hanover County Fire and EMS External Link, Chesterfield County Fire and EMS External Link.

During the EMS rotation, residents have the opportunity to interact with these agencies in order to gain knowledge and exposure with various types of providers and different systems.


During NASCAR season, there is a need for medical support at the raceway. In the past, residents have served as the “crowd medic” while enjoying a free event.