About Duke EMS

Duke University EMS is a unique organization on Duke's campus. We are an all-volunteer, student-run division of the police department and Duke Life Flight that provides event medical services at Duke University sporting events.

Duke EMS was founded by Matt Womble, Tim Pieh and Sacha Picard. These three students had volunteered as Emergency Medical Technicians at home and saw a need for improved EMS response at Duke. These three students began working with administrators in 1993 to form a student run rescue squad.

Duke University Rescue Squad, as it was originally known, began serving the Duke community by providing stand-by coverage for basketball games in the spring of 1994. By 1995, Duke Rescue had expanded to responding to emergency calls. Members were dispatched by pager and responded on foot. In the same year, the first EMT-Basic class was taught on campus by Duke LifeFlight. Campus response was improved in 1996 when Duke EMS purchased six Motorola Radios, allowing EMTs to communicate with each other, Durham Country EMS and police officers.

In 2003, under the new name of Duke University EMS, the squad shifted from operating under Student Affairs to become a division of the Duke University Police Department. Duke University EMS made one of the greatest improvements to our campus service in 2004 when we purchased a Chevy Trailblazer that was equipped and certified by the North Carolina Office of EMS as a non-transporting emergency vehicle. In 2005, Duke EMS was given an apartment on Central Campus from which to base operations, allowing crews to respond as a unit and cutting down on response time. In the same year Duke EMS made a commitment to staffing summer coverage, allowing Duke EMS to provide at least 300 days of emergency service per year.

After being out of service since August 2017, Duke University EMS resumed operations under Duke Life Flight’s medical oversight beginning in Fall 2018, providing event medicine services for Duke Football and Basketball. Through this partnership Duke EMS began offering members extensive access to educational opportunities in the Duke Emergency Department and with Duke Life Flight’s incredible critical care staff. This shift in operations positioned Duke EMS to grow as an agency into the future.

Mission Statement and Core Values

The nature of our organization's operations has changed over the years, but our mission has remained the same throughout.

Duke University EMS exists to create a safer environment for the Duke community by providing superior emergency medical care. Duke EMS accomplishes this mission through event medical services for the thousands of people who attend Duke University sporting events. 

Duke EMS seeks to provide excellent care through adherence to our core values of Professionalism, Respect, Dedication and Cooperation.


Although our members are full-time students and part-time EMTs, we always act as professionals. Our members are held to demanding standards; we meet or exceed all state requirements for Basic Life Support EMS agencies. Our entire squad is trained and certified to the North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician Basic level. In addition to this training, a small number of our members are trained and certified at the Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic levels, giving them training in Advanced Life Support techniques. In addition to this education, we participate in regular training and continuing education to ensure that our skills remain at their peak in order to better serve our community.


Because of the open nature of our campus and the number of patients that are seen in the hospital, Duke EMS serves a variety of people from different backgrounds and experiences including faculty, staff, students and visitors. All of these patients are entitled to respect and Duke EMS members treat every patient with courtesy and compassion.


Duke EMS members are full-time students at Duke University who volunteer 20 hours per month in order to serve their community. We sacrifice weekends and weeknights to attend continuing education classes and learn how to serve our community better. Our dedication is what drives our constant concern for increasing our proficiency, professionalism and capabilities in order to better serve our community.


Duke EMS could not operate in the way we do without the support of Duke Life Flight; we are incredibly grateful for all they do. In pursuing our goal of providing superior emergency medical care to the campus of Duke University, our strong, productive relationship with Duke Life Flight is invaluable.

We hope that this page has clarified who we are, what our mission is and how we work to achieve our goals. Most of all we would like you to know that we are volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians in pursuit of professional excellence in order to provide superior emergency medical care to this campus.