Yearly, Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Service (PFRES) responds to more than 16,000 emergency medical and trauma-related calls. Of these calls, 76% or nearly 9,000 patients are transported to local emergency departments each year.

To meet this demand, PFRES operates five Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances which are strategically stationed throughout the city.

Ambulances are staffed with a minimum of 1 Paramedic and 1 Advanced EMT provider. Our ambulances have the resources to treat many critical illnesses and injuries including heart attack, stroke, and major traumatic injury. In addition, all first response fire engines and ladder companies are capable of providing Basic Life Support (BLS). Four of these engines are capable of providing ALS Paramedic services on a daily basis.


There is one EMS Supervisor on each shift with the primary responsibility for daily EMS operations. The EMS superior operates a Chevrolet Suburban or similar, state-licensed, quick-response vehicle equipped with a full complement of ALS and incident management equipment.

Field Staff

We believe in providing prompt, compassionate, clinically excellent care to all that we serve, and as such we expect nothing less than the best from our Paramedics and Enhanced EMTs. Our staff is held to the highest of standards, and they operate knowing that we hold integrity as the highest of our expectations.

Our dedicated staff work days, nights, holidays, weekends, in all types of weather, and at times of impending disaster. Responding to provide care to patients who are experiencing medical and traumatic emergencies requires that our staff demonstrate excellent clinical decision-making skills as well as adaptability. We face these crisis situations head-on.

Our paramedics and Enhanced EMTs face challenges that demand them to do the right thing, rather than doing the popular or accepted thing. These dedicated men and women hold themselves to the highest ethical and clinical standards possible. Because of this treat each patient with the respect that an employee would afford to a family member: without exception.

Specialized EMS Groups

Tactical EMS 

In a partnership with the Portsmouth Police Department, the EMS Division provides paramedics to work with the SWAT team.  Each paramedic volunteers for the duty and must pass a rigorous screening, selection, and training process prior to admission to the team. The goal of tactical paramedics is to first treat injured officers, bystanders, and suspects on the scene and the second is to provide general medical support to the team.  These tactical paramedics have proven to be a valuable asset to both the police department and fire department. 

Special Event Team

The Special Events Team provides an EMS presence in large crowd events, such as festivals, concerts, sporting events, etc. This team can provide bike medics, golf carts, and aid stations inside any crowd perimeter. The team is fully staffed with providers who volunteer for duty from within the department. Each member is a highly trained and experienced medical provider and provides BLS/ALS care, first aid, CPR and initial stabilization of serious illness or injuries prior to the arrival of an ALS ambulance.  

Special Event Vehicles in Front of Harbor Center Pavillion

Special Event Response Vehicle in the Midst of a Crowd

Special Event Team Members in Front of a Parked Bus

The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (HRMMST) 

Metropolitan Medical Response System Opens in new windowIn a partnership with the area Hampton Roads EMS Agencies, PFRES provides paramedics to the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (HRMMST).

HRMMST consists of 41 positions staffed from a 213-member call group. The team membership consists of fire and rescue personnel from Hampton Road Fire & EMS Agencies, physicians, allied health care professionals, logistics personnel and law enforcement personnel from across the Hampton Roads region. 

The HRMMST is trained and equipped to provide operational assistance and expertise to incident commanders in the region dealing with the medical effects of a mass casualty incident involving weapons of mass destruction or any other incident that would place similar demands on the region’s medical/public health resources and systems.  The HRMMST is staffed, trained and equipped to provide the following:

  • Mass Casualty Management and Patient Movement Coordination
  • Warm Zone Triage, Decontamination, and Monitoring and Detection
  • Rehabilitation and Medical Force Protection
  • Medical Consultation and Coordination
  • Chemical Weapon and Toxic Industrial Chemical Antidote Administration
  • Functional/Medical Needs Sheltering Assistance
  • Mass Fatality Assistance