Original Ambulance​Prior to the formation of the Wake County EMS, local citizens provided emergency medical care for their communities through Volunteer Rescue Squads. In early 1976 Wake County Commissioners saw the need to provide the citizens of Raleigh and Wake County with a modern out-of-hospital emergency medical care system. After much research and planning, they formed Wake County Emergency Medical Services.

There were four ambulances, working out of two stations, in the initial Wake County fleet. The original Wake EMS staff consisted of 26 employees including the first Director, Mr. J. Russell Capps, a Chief Supervisor, three Shift Supervisors, and 21 field EMTs.
Inside Old Station One

Wake EMS provided basic life support (BLS) care from 1976 until 1980. During that time, the Training Department was created and a Training Officer was hired to begin working on an advanced life support (ALS) program. In 1981 the department advanced to a higher level of care known as EMT-Intermediate. In 1984, Wake EMS implemented care at the highest pre-hospital level, EMT-Paramedic.

Since progressing to the Paramedic level, Wake County EMS has become a proven leader in the EMS community. In 1991, Wake County completed construction on the Public Safety Center, which serves as the administrative offices for the Department of Public Safety and the Sheriff's Office. It also serves as an EMS station, housing three units that serve downtown Raleigh.

1990s Ambulance


Skip Kirkwood was named director of Wake County EMS in March 2005. Chief Kirkwood is the fourth person to hold that position.



In 2008, Wake County restructured the departments to help better manage the workflow. As a result, Wake County EMS became a department of its own. Dr. Brent Myers, the EMS System Medical Director, was appointed as the new EMS director.

We are well known for our aggressive, standing-order protocols and our use of new procedures. As Wake County continues to grow, Wake County EMS is dedicated to providing progressive, quality service to its citizens.