Ambulance Service

MCDH Ambulance

Since 1986, Mendocino Coast District Hospital has owned and operated an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance. This means that, within the hospital district, when 911 is called for a medical emergency, one of our paramedic/EMT-staffed ambulances responds with what is essentially a mobile emergency room.

Our paramedics are licensed by the State of California and certified regionally by Coastal Valleys EMS. Ongoing training and continuing education keep our crews up-to-date and fully prepared for the wide spectrum of possible medical emergencies.

In addition to 911 response, our ambulances serve the important roll of transporting patients from our hospital to other facilities. On occasion the coastal weather makes helicopter transport for our most critical patients impossible and one of our ground ambulances is there to fill in the gap.


The Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation has also been an essential source of funding for our ambulance across the decades, primarily through the annual 911 Raffle. This money has been used primarily to outfit the service with up-to-date ambulances and equipment.

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Emergency Network

Although the Mendocino Coast is sparsely  populated with only 25,000 residents spread over the 70 miles of the  Healthcare District, a robust team of emergency responders with advanced  skills and training, responds to every emergency call. They are coordinated by the county 9-1-1 call system and work closely with MCDH emergency physicians.

Ambulance Service

Mendocino Coast Hospital is designated as an emergency “base hospital” with a team of emergency medical technicians on board each ambulance. They remain in constant radio contact with the hospital ER staff and have the skill, knowledge, and equipment necessary to intervene in life threatening emergencies. The ambulance teams monitor local and county emergency radio channels and can dispatch two fully-equipped advanced life support ambulances to any location in our hospital district.

Volunteer Fire Departments

Because of the rural setting with miles of beaches, treacherous cliffs and forests, area fire departments have highly trained search and rescue teams. The towns of Gualala, Elk,  Albion-Little River, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Westport and Comptche all maintain volunteer fire departments that routinely respond to every 9-1-1 call in their service areas.

U.S. Coast Guard

With bases in Fort Bragg and Eureka, Coast  Guard search and rescue teams, which include helicopter and ocean rescue  craft, respond to 9-1-1 calls involving ocean and river-related  accidents or rescues.

CalStar and Reach Air Ambulance Services

A vital part of the MCDH first responder teams are the pilots, physicians and nurses from our two private helicopter medivac units. Depending on the nature of the emergency, these flying intensive care units might pick up a patient from an accident site and take them to our local hospital or transfer a critically-ill patient to a large medical center for advanced care.

A note about air ambulance costs: for those not covered by insurance, both CalStar and Reach offer annual individual memberships ($40) and family memberships ($45 a primary cardholder and spouse or partner and other immediate family living in the same residence). Membership covers the cost of an emergency flight, which can run $30,000 or more. You need memberships from both services to have full coverage, but the investment can be a financial lifesaver in the end.

For memberships:

Family Support

Many people – whether tourists or locals – find themselves alone and distressed when a loved one or friend faces emergency treatment. For those who want a shoulder to lean on or spiritual support, we offer the services of a large corps of chaplains. Someone from the program is on call 24 hours a day. For more information, call 707-961-1234 or go to a Chaplains on our site.

Temporary Housing

When a friend or loved on is admitted to the hospital following emergency treatment, you may want or need to stay in the area for a few days or more. For overnight lodging offering hospital discounts contact the Surf Motel and Gardens.