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In November of 1975 Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service was formed out of a need caused by the end of Gold Crown Ambulance Service and STAT Ambulance in southeastern Berrien County and Southwestern Cass County.  Niles City, Buchanan City,  Niles Township,  Buchanan Township, Bertrand Township and Howard Township formed the governmental agencies that came together  to form SMCAS Ambulance. 


Good cooperation and a willingness to donate time and money selflessly made SMCAS Ambulance a success and subsequently incorporated in 1976. At first there were only a few volunteers but once the word got out the volunteers came and the service grew and flourished. In April 1976 there were 30 volunteers. Of those 30 volunteers, 18 were Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), registered nurses or a combination of both. In addition, there were 12 with American Red Cross Advanced First Aid Training, 14 had temporary attendant licenses, and another 22 volunteers were in a 40 hour advanced first aid class.

The volunteers worked in three eight hour shifts from 6 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10 pm, and 10 pm to 6 am. In March of 1976 Ken Davis, an EMT, worked at SMCAS for 354 hours or close to 12 hours each day within a 31 day span as a volunteer.  Some of the volunteers were couples, with the wife riding one night and the husband riding the next.  People from all walks of life made this service including police, businessmen, secretaries, engineers and housewives.  At first SMCAS did not have an ambulance base, so the units were stationed at volunteer’s homes. They slept on cots in the basements of the houses and at the Pawating Hospital in Niles.

SMCAS ambulance was one of the top three busiest volunteer ambulance companies in the nation in the 70’s running in the neighborhood of 3300 ambulance calls a year with a full volunteer crew!  In 1984 SMCAS went from a Basic Life Support Service to an Advanced Life Support service.  In 1986 SMCAS became a full time Advanced Life Support service. Through trial and tribulation in the late 1980’s and early 90’s SMCAS survived and became stronger and better than ever. With careful money management through the years, in 2003 SMCAS built a new ambulance base in Niles. In addition, with top of the line equipment and personnel, SMCAS has gone on to become one of the finest ambulance services in southwest Michigan.

SMCAS now has 19 full-time employees, and 14 part-time employees. Of these, 14 are Critical Care Paramedics. All of our EMS staff is trained in BCLS, ACLS, PHTLS or ITLS, and SMCAS boast six Paramedic Instructors. SMCAS is an active participant in the Primary and Continuing Education of all of the EMS providers in Southwestern Michigan and the Continuing Education of many of the area’s Medical and Nursing providers.  The SMCAS motto, “We’re Here to Serve“, still rings as true today as it did in 1975.

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Copyright © 2010 SMCAS Ambulance; Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service
2100 Chicago Rd. Niles, MI 49120   Phone: (269) 684-2170  Fax: (269) 684-2152