NCAREMS Benefits for Rescuers

Many years ago, the North Carolina Association of Rescue and EMS (NCAREMS) was formed to be a support tool and voice for rescuers all across North Carolina.


In many of my past articles you have heard me say that nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer. That person who willingly puts it all on the line, day or night, to help people in great need of rescue. It is as true now as it has ever been. There is one thing that all of us have, more valuable than anything else: our time. Once a person decides to whom or what agency he or she will donate time, either volunteer or paid — once that time is given, it is gone forever.

Many years ago, the North Carolina Association of Rescue and EMS (NCAREMS) was formed to be a support tool and voice for rescuers all across North Carolina. Likewise, there was the Eastern North Carolina Association of Rescue and the Western North Carolina Association of Rescue Squads. They were associations to be of assistance in various ways to rescue squads.

Over the years, some of the major programs spearheaded by the NCAREMS were directed at ways to show appreciation to rescuers through legislative means to provide insurance and benefits to volunteers who gave of their time for rescue and medical assistance in their communities. Working with legislators in Raleigh, gradually benefits were introduced as a way of showing such appreciation, along with rescue training and sponsored rescue schools, most notably the North Carolina Rescue College and the North Carolina High Angle Rescue School. There were other benefits made available through dogged determination as the Association worked with North Carolina legislators.

Most notable is the current Rescue Retirement benefit paid monthly to those rescue and EMS workers with 20 or more years of service at age 55, and whose agencies certify a roster to NCAREMS. The state Rescue Retirement Pension Program pays these rescuers $170 per month, which is $2040 per year, until the member’s death. It is the state’s way of showing gratitude for all those who professionally give of their time and resources. The rescuer pays $10 per month for 20 years = $120.00/year x 20 years = $2400.00. In a little over 14 months, you have recouped your investment and then $170 for the rest of your life. For me, I’ve been receiving this benefit now for 10 years, or $20,400. Anybody think that’s small change?

I am going to show you the tremendous benefits available to rescue and EMS workers in North Carolina. Rescuers and/or their departments need to be members of the NCAREMS and dues paid on a regular basis. This process is easily set up through your NCAREMS office. (See chart on this page.) As you can see, there are many benefits available to you and members of your department. Looking at a few, there are 60 scholarships made available to eligible rescue and EMS workers to attempt either a two-year or four-year college degree. This amounts to $180,000 per year! Look at scholarships for spouses of rescuers killed in the line of duty: automatic two and four-year scholarships made available to them.

Other benefits from the Rescue Relief Fund include the Monetary Support and the Disability Income. There is even the Monetary Compensation Fund for members who have suffered financial damages due to natural or man-made disasters. Of particular importance is a separate benefit, the Benevolent Brotherhood, of which if you are a member, will immediately pay $4500 to the family of a deceased rescuer once a copy of the death certificate is presented to the NCAREMS. This benefit is paid through the other members that participate in the Benevolent Brotherhood contributing $1 when someone from the Brotherhood dies. It is members helping members. I have personally, as Area 15 Director, delivered these funds to families upon a member’s death, and have seen the tremendous relief this makes for immediate expenses at a time of grief and loss. Believe me, this makes a real difference to the member’s family.

Read the information on this page and decide for yourself if being a member of the NCAREMS, either individually or after 20 years of service with a recognized department, won’t make a difference in your rescue career. To me, it is unconscionable that a department would not take advantage of these benefits. And for departments, what better way to show real appreciation for your members? Remember, your members could be giving of their time elsewhere, so provide for them and protect them.

More information is available at or by phone at 919-736-7759.

Until next time, be safe, and continue to make a difference in your communities.

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Numerous Rescuer and EMS Benefits Available For You

Bob Twomey has been in the volunteer rescue service for 46 years, having served on five Rescue Squads from the coast to the mountains. He is currently a member of Transylvania County Rescue Squad, past Chief and Training Chief, an EMT for 45 years, and is an IFSAC and OSFM certified Rescue Instructor. Bob has been active in SAR, Mountain Rescue, and teaches high-level rescue. He is the chief pilot of Wolf Tree Aviation, and flies helicopter searches and rescue support locally. He is a Crew Chief for the NC Forest Service. He can be reached at 828-884-7174 or at

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