People Matter: Lancaster County EMS

Lancaster County EMSI would like to welcome you to the Lancaster County informational update. I hope you find it informative as you learn a little about the services we provide to our county. Lancaster County EMS takes pride in providing professional service to Lancaster County and its visitor’s every day. Lancaster County EMS strives to be on the cutting edge of pre hospital Emergency Health Care. Our Medics undergo a battery of National, State and County continuing educational programs to maintain the highest level of skills. To supplement those trainings, we regularly send medics to state competitions to increase teamwork and networking within our state. Lancaster County EMS is comprised of 77 full time staff and 33 part time staff. These employees work 24 hours straight with 48 straight hours off. Twenty Five Medics are crossed trained in High Angle/Low Angle Rescue, Search and Rescue, Swift Water Rescue and make up the Lancaster County EMS STAR Team which can be deployed for these specialized rescues to support local fire departments. In addition to the those disciplines mentioned, Lancaster County EMS has 16 Medics who are cross trained as SWAT Medics and train with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s SWAT Team. Lancaster County EMS also has the only full EMS Honor Guard in South Carolina and fields an EMS Bike Team which is deployed at local large events. All this is centered within a service that responds to over 18,000 calls for emergency medical care with 9 fully staff EMS units each day. We are proud of our public involvement in our community to make our county the Best Place to Live, Work and raise a family.

Lancaster County EMS has been proactive over the past few years attempting to help battle state EMS workforce issues and battle the nationwide overdose epidemic. Lancaster County EMS was the first county based EMS System in South Carolina to start a COPE Program ( Community Outreach Paramedic Education). This program consist of special trained Paramedics, Law Enforcement Officers and Addictions Counselors which form a team that make house call follow ups on overdose patients. This team attempts to get the patients to enter into a treatment program. Before COVID 19 the team had a success rate of treatment admission round 22%. However, since COVID 19 the team has not been able to visit in person and the overdose numbers in Lancaster County have begun to rise. Lancaster County EMS also started an outside the box training program called, EMS Boot camp. The first of its kind in the state, this program hires employees with no medical training and teaches them a 12 week EMT course. This idea allows new employees to earn a paycheck all while learning what it takes to be a full time staff member of Lancaster County EMS. We are a service that treats employees like family members but have set standards that are well above most services. This program was built to teach loyalty to an employer, produce better trained staff and reward those that put forth the effort with a job that cost them nothing out of pocket. The program was the result of an idea I had driving asking myself the question why can’t we? With the approval of Lancaster County Council, who took a chance on a wild idea, the program was born. I am proud to say that after our first programs conclusion, we have 5 new employees and they have pumped energy and enthusiasm into our service. I am hopefully this is a new beginning for recruitment in South Carolina and can be training model for all EMS.

This is just a brief highlight of Lancaster County EMS. I could provide tons more information and discuss my passion for hours. If you are interested in any additional information, please contact me, Clayton Catoe, at

Clayton Catoe, BA, CAC, CADS, CAPO, CACO
Director, Lancaster County EMS