JCAS Ride Alongs

University of Iowa Emergency Medical Services Student Interest Organization members have the unique and exclusive opportunity to ride along with Johnson County Ambulance Service (JCAS) on their shifts. This opportunity is usually reserved only for EMT and Paramedic Students and not frequently available to others.

UI EMS SIO has developed a relationship with JCAS that permits our members to ride along with them multiple times per month. This permits our members to have a unique and exciting experience interacting with EMS professional on the streets of Iowa City and Johnson County.

jcasJohnson County Ambulance Frequently Asked Questions

Rapid and effective care is the basic tenant of the First Responder system. A variety of medical emergencies are encountered by First Responders on a daily basis, therefore First Responders and EMT-Basics are trained to provide basic care. Although, the Johnson County First Responder services focus is on basic care, they have the ability to perform advanced treatments such as Automatic External Defibrillation and Advanced Airway Maintenance. EMT-Basics may assist patients with medications that may be necessary in medical emergencies. The First Responder network is a state of the art system, which makes Johnson County a safer place to live.

 Why does a fire truck and sometimes a police car come to my home when I request an ambulance?

In Johnson County all the fire departments do first response for the ambulance service. Often times they are able to arrive more quickly because of their locations throughout the county. The fire departments are all trained to provide patient care while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. All police cars in Johnson County are equipped with AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) and are also able to help provide life saving CPR before the paramedics arrive. The police are also there to provide safety in certain situations.

 How many ambulances are there in Johnson County?

JCAS staff three ambulances 24 hours a day with two paramedics in each ambulance. Two of the ambulances are stationed in Iowa City and one ambulance is stationed in Coralville. JCAS have three reserve units that JCAS are able to use in the event of high call volumes. JCAS also use the extra trucks to take to special events.

 How many calls per year does Johnson County Ambulance attend to?

JCAS respond to over 7000 calls per year. JCAS attend to a variety of calls including trauma, medical, and psychological emergencies; and JCAS also provide for routine transfers. JCAS cover most of Johnson County excluding Swisher and Sutliff areas. Area Ambulance and Lisbon/Mt. Vernon Ambulance services respectively, provide mutual aid for us to those locations. JCAS provide mutual aid to the west Branch area for Cedar County.

 Who drives the ambulance?

At Johnson County, JCAS provides two paramedics in each ambulance. The paramedics take turns between providing patient care and driving the ambulance. JCAS often are called ambulance drivers. It is important to know that JCAS are EMTs and Paramedics, able to provide life saving care, and JCAS appreciate being recognized as an EMT or Paramedic.

Common Terms

EMS – abbreviation for Emergency Medical Services.

BLS – Basic Life Support. This level provides basic airway management, CPR, and bleeding control.

ALS – Advanced Life Support. This level provides IV fluids, medications, heart monitoring, and advanced airway placement.

First Responder – the first level of certification a person can obtain to provide pre-hospital care.

EMT – Emergency Medical Technician – used to describe a person that is trained and certified by the state to provide BLS level of care in the pre-hospital setting. There are currently two levels of EMT in the state of Iowa – EMT-B that provides only BLS and EMT-I that is able to provide a level of care betJCASen EMT-B and Paramedic.

Paramedic (EMT-P) – used to describe a person that is trained and certified by the state to provide ALS level of care in the pre-hospital setting.

Medical Director – a local emergency physician contracted by Johnson County Ambulance, that directs all of the patient care protocols folloJCASd by Johnson County Ambulance. Paramedics and EMTs operate under the auspice of the physician’s license while providing pre-hospital care.

Medical Control – any on-duty emergency physician that the Paramedics and EMTs are able to contact for direction/advise while on scene. These physicians are familiar with our protocols and provide direction when needed accordingly. This physician assumes primary responsibility for decisions made about patient care at that time.


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