EMS System
Emergency medical services are provided to you through the inter-workings of several different agencies and entities, all working together for a common goal: quality patient care. Agencies including the EMS office (training/certification), Medical Program Director (protocols), SUNCOMM (City of Yakima 911 call-center/dispatch), Yakima County Fire District #5 Dispatch, local fire departments/districts and Advanced Life Systems, American Medical Response and White Swan ambulance services, and our four local emergency departments. Associations who impact the EMS system with their work and recommendations include the Yakima County EMS & Trauma Care Council, the Yakima County Fire Commissioners Association, the Yakima County EMS Admin Board, the Yakima County Fire Chief’s Association, The 911 Admin and Operations Boards, the protocol committee, the quality improvement committee and the Yakima Board of County Commissioners. The EMS community is working hard to ensure that Yakima Valley residents have access 24/7 to high quality, efficient and effective prehospital responses and prehospital patient care.

The Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services and your local fire departments fund emergency medical services through a countywide EMS levy. Yakima County has had a countywide EMS levy since 1991 when it was first voted on and approved by Yakima’s voters. Since that time three renewals of the levy have been passed, one in 1996, the second in 2002 and the third in 2013. The current levy is due to expire on December 31, 2023.

By law (RCW 84.52.069), EMS levy funds can only be used to provide emergency medical care or emergency medical services. In Yakima County, 88.5% of the EMS levy is distributed among 21 fire departments to provide a revenue source for items such as apparatus, rescue units, medical and trauma supplies, rescue gear and tools, volunteer and full-time staffing, facilities and more. The other 11.5% is received by the Yakima County Department of EMS (EMS Office) which provides the annual training, required by all EMS providers, certification and recertification assistance, Medical Program Director, Quality Assurance & Improvement and administrative oversight.

In order to provide a fair and equitable distribution of funds to the varying fire departments throughout Yakima County a distribution formula was established. The formula consists of three parts; Assessed Value, Population, and EMS runs (aid calls).

County Wide EMS Levy Information PDF file PowerPoint version PowerPoint file


EMS Office

The Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services or “EMS Office” offers initial, ongoing and certification services to aspiring and experienced EMS providers, who are affiliated with a prehospital EMS agency. The EMS office works in conjunction with a local Medical Program Director to provide prehospital patient care protocols, guidelines, operating procedures, and quality assurance to the community. To learn more about the initial training programs offered through the EMS office read below.


Advanced First Aid Course for Fire Department Personnel

The Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services periodically offers an Advanced First Aid Course for fire department personnel only.

Watch this space for the next course.

Are you interested in becoming an Emergency Medical Technician or EMT?

The Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Serivces (EMS Office) offers one course a year for aspiring affiliated providers.

Submit an EMT application with the required attachments to the EMS Office (see the announcement and/or application below).

If you are not affiliated with an agency that provides emergency medical services, the options for taking an EMT course would be a community college, university or technical school. There are programs located throughout the State. EMT Programs may be found by using a search engine online.

If you have questions, please contact the EMS office by emailing your questions to diane.koch@co.yakima.wa.us


Initial EMT Training

Initial EMT Training

Due to state regulations, we are only able to accept students who are with a local EMS agency. If you are not with a local agency, you can use a search engine and look for “EMT Courses Washington State".

Fall 2023 EMT Academy

Download the Fall 2023 EMT Academy Annoucement and Application

List of Places that Offer Emergency Medical Technician Courses

EMT Careers

Most EMTs will volunteer in their community at the local fire department. Yet others will become employed by a local ambulance company or fire department. However, EMTs have been known to find work at emergency departments, general clinics, specialty clinics such as a burn center or heart center, FEMA, contracted by private industry and military establishments. EMT-IV Technicians have found employment at places such as the American Red Cross or hospital laboratory utilizing their phlebotomy skills. It should be noted that EMTs can only obtain and maintain a Washington State Certification by volunteering or being employed by an agency that provides prehospital emergency medical services.

The Yakima County Department of EMS is happy to assist in providing information to local EMS employers, however this department has no influence over the hiring practices of any entity other than this office itself.

For information and whether an agency is hiring please see our Agency Directory and contact those individual resources.


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