Rowan County began providing Emergency Medical Service (EMS) on July 2, 1984. when C&M Ambulance Service, a private provider, did not renew its franchise. The first EMS manager was Al Upton who resigned after three months on the job. The second manager was Joe Sulkowski, who operated the service with three staffed ambulances. Two ambulances were stationed in a remodeled gas station at 302 N. Main Street, Salisbury.
The third ambulance was stationed in a back room at Linn Honeycutt Funeral Home in Landis until a permanent location could be found. This arrangement was courtesy of Rufus Honeycutt who provided the space at no cost to the county. The twenty-one Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) were only able to provide emergency care at the basic EMT level. Five thousand calls were answered during the first year of operation.
The EMS crew moved from the Linn Honeycutt Funeral Home to the Town of Landis which provided space to the county beside it's fire department for use as an EMS station. It is still in operation at that location. Wayne Ashworth was hired as the Rowan County Emergency Services Director, the EMS service was placed within his department. The EMS Service continued to operated with three staffed ambulances. Due to the Rowan County Rescue Squad being constantly used to handle calls due to all the county units being committed, two additional EMTs were hired to staff a day time convalescent ambulance. This unit transported patients to doctor's office appointments and other routine calls. This helped the county's other units to better remain available for emergency calls.
Joe Sulkowski resigned as manager and was replaced by Terry Barber. The EMTs started to practice at the EMT-Intermediate level this year. This allowed intravenous fluids and advanced airway management equipment to be used.
The Rowan County Emergency Operations Center was built this year at 2727 Old Concord Road. This building became the home for the EMS administrative offices. One of the EMS units which had been stationed in Salisbury was moved to this location. The 911 center was started this year which greatly improved the dispatching efficiency for EMS.
9 additional EMTs were hired this year to staff a fourth ambulance. This ambulance was stationed on Statesville Boulevard near Hurley School Road. This placement provided quicker response to the western side of the county. Seven thousand calls were answered this year.
8,000 calls were answered this year. Terry Barber resigned as EMS manager and Beth Connell became the new manager in December.
The EMTs started performing at the EMT-Advanced Intermediate level which enabled advanced resuscitation of cardiac arrest patients to be performed.
The EMS station in Salisbury was demolished to make room for the new Justice Center, and the crew was moved to a rented house on West Thomas St. until a permanent location can be found. Nine additional EMTs are hired in anticipation of opening a new EMS station in the Eastern part of the county.
The EMTs started performing at the EMT-Paramedic level. This is the highest level of EMT care allowed by North Carolina. Ten Thousand calls were answered this year.
The eastern EMS station is built on St. Matthew's Church Road near Stokes Ferry Road, providing quicker response to calls in the eastern part of the county. The station is named for Harry Sifford, a former County Commissioner and longtime advocate of better EMS service in the county.
A new EMS station is built and opened on NC Highway 152 W, west of China Grove to provide quicker response to calls in the Millbridge, Enochville and Atwell areas.
2007 saw an ongoing decline in the number of routine doctor office transports due to new requirements to provide transportation by facilities for these types of visits. Due to this, the daytime convalescent unit originally staffed in 1985 is upgraded with additional personnel to a 24-hour paramedic ambulance unit. This move provided another EMS crew to assist with call volume in the central Salisbury area.
A new central Salisbury station is opened in November. The 4-bay station houses two EMS crews to respond to calls in the Salisbury Area, in addition to Telecommunications' 40-foot mobile command unit. The station is named after Charles Ridenhour, former EMT-Intermediate for the service and long time member of the Rowan County Rescue Squad.
Increased call volumes and slower response times in the Kannapolis/South Rowan area prompt Kannapolis officials to request a study to improve services. As a result, a peak time contract is established with Rowan County Rescue to provide a staffed paramedic ambulance unit during the 5 busiest days of the week to the Landis district (District 86). This is done as a budgetary temporary measure until funding can allow additional county units to be allocated. Beth Connell retires as Division Chief of EMS. Training Officer Lennie Cooper is promoted to fill her position. The division responds to in excess of 13,000 calls for service this year.