Welcome Home, CabCo EMS
Published on September 29, 2023
For nearly all its five decades, Cabarrus County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operated from a 3,000-square-foot residential-style building on Willowbrook Drive. In that time, the department grew more than ten-fold.
Needless to say: quarters were cramped.
Soon, the organization will move into a new 30,000-square-foot facility on Cabarrus Avenue West (home of the former Cabarrus County Fairgrounds) that features ample training space, a modular lecture hall, multiple conference rooms, a fitness center, large ambulance bays and more.
The centrally located building will be a hub for the 160-plus EMS staff serving the ever-growing Cabarrus community.
“We’re proud to show this amazing facility to the public,” says EMS Chief Jimmy Lentz. “In a lot of ways, the building mirrors our organization: it’s innovative and shows a strong commitment to providing excellent care to the community.”
The grand opening will be held this Wednesday (Oct. 4) at 6 p.m. The celebration will double as the kickoff to the organization’s 50th anniversary. The event will feature current and former EMS officials, tours, dessert and more.
The project is the result of many years of planning by EMS leaders and County officials. Physical construction kicked off in November 2021 and wasn’t without challenges. The area’s rocky terrain required extra preparation before the structure went up.
The building will help the award-winning department level-up even more, thanks to an advanced, immersive training area.
Simulation rooms will allow for real-world experiences. The spaces can be set up like bathrooms, wreck scenes and other realistic environments paramedics might encounter on calls. Controllable lighting, wall projections and even realistic scents are part of the experience.
The rooms also have complete recording capability for post-training analysis.
“Our training is getting ready to step up to something we have never been privy to,” says EMS Deputy Chief Jonathan Maulden.
The department has come a long way in 50 years. While honoring the past, the new headquarters will set the course for the future.
“It’s amazing to think back about the vision that led us here,” Brines says. “We’re excited for what’s to come.”
Hear from Brines, Maulden and several other members of the EMS team on the new episode of Did Y’all Hear? A Cabarrus County Podcast. In addition to discussions about the 50th celebration and new headquarters, the episode features an exploration of the lives of paramedics. Visit bit.ly/CabCoPodcast or find it on all major podcast providers.
EMS history timeline
1973: Cabarrus Ambulance Service begins on October 1 with 13 employees; Joe Shue is director
1974: First EMT class is held at Cabarrus Ambulance Service
1980: Current Station 1 is built
1982: Ambulance service combines with Emergency Management
1987: Cabarrus Ambulance Service becomes Cabarrus County EMS; Paramedic service begins
1989: Cabarrus EMS separates from Emergency Management
1990: Paramedic Crew Chief program implemented
1992: Enhanced 911 services implemented; Tactical Medic program begins as one of the first in the state
2003: Advanced cardiac care program implemented
2004: RSI program implemented (one of the first pre-hospital in the state)
2012: Advanced cardiac arrest care program implemented
2013: First Hearts and Heroes event held
2015: Transition to 12-hour shifts begins
2020: Planning and design begins for new headquarters under Chief Jimmy Lentz
About Cabarrus County EMS
Known as one of the top EMS agencies in North Carolina, the award-winning Cabarrus County team is a model system that provides advanced paramedic-level care. The team is involved in many areas to improve patient care including community education and advanced cardiac/stroke programs. The agency also supports a Community Paramedic program, along with multiple specialty response teams, offering tactical medics, motorsports track medics, EOD medics, ATV medics, ambulance strike teams and bomb squad support.