Lake County, Florida Ambulance History
Local funeral homes provided ambulance service to Lake County. Zeller of Eustis, Steverson of Tavares, Kurfiss of Groveland and Dabney of Leesburg.
Lake County ambulance services still fragmented into three service areas. South Lake Memorial Hospital in the south, Leesburg Fire Department in the northwest and Waterman Memorial Hospital in the northeast.
Ambulance service in North Lake County is combined under Waterman Medical Center. In 1986, Waterman contracts with South Lake Hospital to provide ambulance service to all of Lake County as a single provider d.b.a. Lake County EMS. In 1987, Sumter County contracts with Waterman Medical Center’s ambulance service to both counties under the name of Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services. In 1991, Waterman Medical Center contracts with Hernando County to provide ambulance services and Lake-Sumter EMS becomes Florida Regional EMS. In 1995, Citrus County joins with Florida Hospital Waterman d.b.a. Florida Regional EMS. Service continues in all four counties until Sept 30, 2000.
2000-2011 Lake-Sumter EMS, Inc.
In October 2000, Lake-Sumter EMS, Inc., began operations as a unique, government-owned, bi-county corporation given the mandate to provide efficient, cost-effective emergency medical service and transportation of the sick and injured citizens and visitors of Lake and Sumter counties, Florida.
In early 2011, the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners elected to end its eleven year cooperative venture to provide bi-county emergency medical ambulance service, by deciding to bid out the ambulance service contract. Lake-Sumter EMS officially ceased operation at the end of September 2011.
2011-2018 Lake Emergency Medical Services, Inc.
After a careful review of its options, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners decided that even though Sumter County elected to withdraw from the mutual operation of a governmental corporation, the concept was still sound and cost efficient. On October 1, 2011, Lake Emergency Medical Services, Inc. began operations as a government-owned, county corporation given the mandate to provide efficient, cost-effective emergency medical service and ambulance transportation of the sick and injured citizens and visitors of Lake County, Florida. As Lake EMS progressed towards its new future, it continued to strive to achieve and eventually surpass those initial goals.
In February 2018, Lake County Commissioners voted unanimously to transition Lake Emergency Medical Services (Lake EMS) into the county organization as the Lake County Office of EMS. The commission’s vote will ultimately dissolve the 501(c)(3) non-profit Lake EMS and its board. The transition is expected to be completed by February 2019.
Geographic/Demographic overview of Lake County
Lake County is appropriately named for its 1,400 lakes, which cover 202 square miles of its 1,163 square mile total. Located in Central Florida, Lake County is 90 miles in length and 35 miles in width, and is bordered by Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter, Volusia and Marion Counties. It is a part of the Orlando Metropolitan Statistical Area, one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. Bureau of the Census 2010 statistics indicate the population was 297,052, a population increase of 41.1% since the 2000 Census.
Lake Emergency Medical Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2011 by Lake County, Florida to provide quality, community-based EMS services. The agency operated 22 Advanced Life Support ambulance units at peak operation, dynamically deployed throughout the county. Lake EMS was governed by a nine-member Board of Directors headed by Chairman Timothy I. Sullivan. Jerry Smith served as Executive Director with administrative offices located at 2761 West Old Highway 441 in Mount Dora, Florida. In October 2018, the administrative offices were moved to the Lake County Administration Building at 315 W. Main St., Suite 144 in Tavares, Florida. Medical direction is provided by Dr. Desmond Fitzpatrick, M.D.
Our mission statement of quality values and principles embodies the vision of emergency services in Lake County, Florida. These fundamentals will be used to pioneer the course of Lake EMS now and in the future.
To serve our communities by providing exceptional patient care and extraordinary customer service through compassion, knowledge, clinical sophistication and the integrity of our organization.
Quality Values and Principles
- Value honesty, trustworthiness and integrity
- Exhibit dignity and respect for one another
- Dedicated pride of service
- Foster empowerment
- Manage through leadership
- Focus on personal and professional growth