Emergency Medical Services

About Cheltenham EMS

EMS outside

In 1982, the Cheltenham Township Emergency Medical Service (EMS) started small. “We borrowed a Chevy Suburban from the police and placed magnetic signs that said ‘Emergency Medical Service’ over the word ‘Police’,” explained Ken Hellendall, EMS Director. “This worked fine until the signs blew off.”  In 2022, the decidedly higher-tech EMS celebrated its 40th anniversary. From its modest beginnings as a part-time adjunct to the Police Department, Cheltenham EMS has blossomed into the one of the busiest ambulance services in the county.

Established by the Board of Commissioners in 1982 to provide the community with an organization dedicated solely to medical emergencies, EMS held its first meeting in February 1983. Weekend operations began soon after. For the first few years, police officers continued to cover medical emergencies whenever EMS was off duty. During that first year, 29 EMS volunteers equipped with a first-aid kit, a shared police vehicle, and a walkie-talkie that plugged into a car cigarette lighter handled 254 calls.  In contrast, EMS is now dispatched to over 3,000 calls per year. As an independent department of the Township, EMS has volunteer and career paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), qualified to provide advanced life care.

EMS operations focus foremost on 911-related emergencies, but also include special event and detail coverage such as football games, graduations, street fairs, bicycle races, and community events, providing care and welfare to those attending. Rehabilitation services are also provided during large-scale fire and hazardous materials emergencies.  

Cheltenham Township EMS constantly updates its equipment and expands training to provide the best patient care possible.  The EMS boasts three ambulances, a special service unit, a paramedic responder motorcycle, and three fully-equipped EMS bicycles.  During its 40-year history, it instituted the first bicycle patrol in the county, and created the second Medics on Motorcycles program in Pennsylvania.  This program gives EMS quick access to patients, despite traffic congestion or roadwork closings. The motorcycle carries life-saving equipment to begin care until an ambulance arrives, and radios that can communicate with any ambulance, police vehicle, or hospital in the county.


EMS always welcomes new volunteers. Volunteers were the backbone of EMS when the service began, and they continue to be vital to its operation. Paramedics and EMTs are particularly welcome, but training can be provided. 
Volunteers should have CPR and first-aid certification before applying. All applicants must be age 18 or older prior to applying.  Anyone interested in joining EMS should contact Ken Hellendall at 215-887-5925, ext. 510.

Volunteer/Career Application


Medic Motorcycle

CTEMS has made a dedicated commitment to provide the most modern response in street emergency medicine. In addition to the best in equipment and personnel, we have added an Advanced Life Support, Quick Responder Motorcycle.  The purpose of the motorcycle is to put a medic on the street, roaming the township, ready to respond to any 911 emergencies in the first minutes of a request for help. 

EMS Subscriber Program