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OCEMS History



Owen County

     Owen County lies in West-Central Indiana and shares borders with Morgan, Monroe, Clay, Putnam and Greene Counties. With a population base approaching 22,000 persons, our county has been ranked the 4th fastest growing county in the state. Daily population, beyond permanent residents, varies upon the influx of persons attending events such as one of the many annual festivals and local events, visiting McCormick's Creek State Park, or just commuting through the county. ocems 1976.jpg

Some of the original staff members of Owen County EMS in 1976

From Left to Right: Russell Lester, Tony Morrison, David Carpenter. Rick Shields  

 The Eastern portion of Owen County has seen the greatest population increase. A literal explosion of real estate and land development has occurred, with new home construction growing at a steady pace.

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     Owen County EMS is the only ambulance service operating inside Owen County and has the responsibility of covering 395 square miles of terrain and over 683 miles of roadways (including seven state highways). There are thirteen townships in the county itself, each with various sized populations. Spencer is the largest town in Owen County, consisting of approximately 3,000 residents. Larger businesses and the seat of county government are headquartered in the Spencer town limits. Other sections of the county contain typically working class areas with relatively smaller, more concentrated populations than Spencer. Some of these areas include the towns of Gosport, Patricksburg, Coal City, Freedom, Cunot and Cataract.


     Even with the rapid expansion of the county over recent years, Owen County remains a largely rural, sparsely populated area. Travel time to many emergency scenes is often in excess of twenty minutes. Transport times to the nearest hospital, once the patient is on board the ambulance can approach 45-55 minutes. It is for this reason in particular that Owen County EMS upgraded to Paramedic level ambulance provider in July of 2002.

ems promo shots 003.pngOwen County EMS History

      Owen County Emergency Medical Services (OCEMS) was established in October of 1976. At that time the entire staff consisted of two Emergency Medical Technicians and two ambulances.  Prior to this date there was no organized Emergency Medical care beyond the local funeral home transporting patients in the back of a hearse.The first home of OCEMS was the Spencer Municipal building. We made a permanent home in a converted gas station across from the old Sherrif's department on Morgan Street. Funding for OCEMS is provided via local tax dollars and generated user's fees. Direct control of the OCEMS is the responsibility of the EMS Director. The director must work closely with the Owen County Commissioners and the Owen County Council on administrative and financial issues respectively.

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Owen County EMS Fleet with Owen County Rescue Truck Circa 1988


     The past twenty nine years have brought about numerous changes for OCEMS. Between the years of 1976 and 1987 the service functioned solely as a basic life support service. In 1987 the new EMS and Security Centers were built allowing The Owen County Sherrif's Dept. and Owen County EMS moved into their new homes. 1988, OCEMS established itself as an Advanced EMT service provider. With Advanced EMTs on OCEMS ambulances, we could perform certain Advanced Life Support (ALS) skills that could help our cardiac arrest and trauma patients. bringing them out.jpgAdvanced EMTs are trained to start IV lines, interpret EKGs and have a higher level of patient assessment skills. We realized that while having Advanced EMTs was helpful, we really needed the additional skills that Paramedics could provide. In July of 2002, OCEMS became a Paramedic level provider for Owen County. Having Paramedics at OCEMS allows us to bring the Emergency Department to the scene of your emergency. Because our response times and transport times can be extended, Paramedics can begin treatment as soon as we arrive and continue that care throughout the transport to the hospital.

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Owen County EMS Fleet with Owen County Rescue Circa 1998


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"Medic One" 2005


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"Squad 1 and 2" 2005
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