About Mercy EMS / Company History


In 1969, EMS (Emergency Medical Services) was a term that was nonexistent. The standard of care throughout the country at that time consisted of very basic first aid, “lights and sirens” and a “fast ride” to the nearest hospital. Federal legislation regulating the provision of ambulance service was the reason the local providers, which at the time were made up of a number of funeral homes in the county, exited and in 1969 Mercy Ambulance Service started. As a standalone company, it offered the standard of care known as “Basic Life Support (BLS)” care utilizing Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

By 1976, Mercy Ambulance was privately owned by Gerald and Patricia Primeau of Calumet. At the same time, Dr. David Gilbert saw a need for a more advanced system and became an integral part in what is now known as “ALS” (Advanced Life Support) standard of care. ALS service/care utilized personnel trained to the level of paramedic. In addition to providing basic life support, an ALS service offers advanced airway procedures, IV therapy, ECG (electrocardiogram) recognition and pharmacology. After rigorous/ arduous requirements and training, Mercy Ambulance Service became the first licensed Advanced Life Support Service in the state of Michigan, an accomplishment that is still revered today.

In 2003, Mercy Ambulance Service, Inc. was sold to Marquette General Health System, and became Mercy EMS, Inc. Five years later in 2008, Aspirus Keweenaw and UP Health Portage purchased Mercy EMS from Marquette General and is governed jointly by a board of directors consisting of administrators and physicians from both hospitals.

Today, Mercy EMS, Inc. is a paramedic/ALS service serving Houghton and Keweenaw counties, the two most northern counties in Michigan. Our service area consists of 1,250 square miles with a population of 38,000 people resulting in 3,000 emergency (911) responses per year and over 500 hospital-to-hospital transfers to our regional medical center two hours away. The company now has 14 full-time positions and 17-part time employees, operating a fleet of seven ambulances, five of which are ALS equipped. Three duty and backup crews are scheduled, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Mercy EMS, Inc., working with the School of EMT at UP Health Marquette, and utilizing their teleconferencing system allows us to offer easier and more efficient methods of initial and continuing education opportunities. This includes training for both our employees and EMS responders in our service area. Having this technology onsite eliminates the need for travel for new and existing employees to garner or maintain their state licensure at all levels.

In 2019, Mercy EMS celebrated 50 years of service to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. This never would have been possible without the loyal and dedicated staff, and the hundreds of individuals, some of whom were simply volunteers, who have come and gone over the years. Their arduous training and continual support of EMS in the area have contributed greatly for half a decade.
Mercy EMS, Inc. offers:

  • 911 ALS service to the service area

  • Inter-facility ALS transport

  • Event standbys

Mercy EMS, Inc. was the first ALS (Advanced Life Support) Service in the state of Michigan.


Our service area covers 1,250 square miles with a fleet of seven ambulances, five of which are ALS equipped.


On average, Mercy EMS responds to 3,000 emergency (911) calls annually, and over 500 hospital-to-hospital transfers to our regional medical center in Marquette, Michigan.




Mercy EMS, Inc.
23298 Airpark Blvd • Calumet, MI 49913

Contact Us | Directions

(906) 482-0932


Serving Houghton and
Keweenaw Counties

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