Fire District 1 captain wins national top 10 EMS honor

EMS-10 award

Snohomish County Fire District 1 Capt. Shaughn Maxwell (center) received the prestigious EMS 10 award presented annually by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) to the top 10 innovators in the industry. The award was presented by Brian Webster (left), PhysioControl president/CEO, and A.J. Heightman, JEMS editor-in-chief, at the EMS Today conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. (Photo by Gary Jackson)

Snohomish County Fire District 1 Capt. Shaughn Maxwell has been named one of the top 10 innovators in emergency medical services (EMS) for 2013 by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

Maxwell received the prestigious EMS 10 Innovator award at the EMS Today Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The award honors the top 10 EMS innovators from the United States and Canada who drove the profession forward during the previous year.

Maxwell was honored for his work on developing a series of checklists for paramedics to use in the field to improve patient care and overall delivery of emergency medical services. JEMS noted the checklists have the potential to “transform the way EMS operates” and “may very well inform new ways of thinking for medical personnel around the world.”

This is the second national honor Fire District 1 has received for this innovative program. Last year, Fire District 1 received the Excellence in Fire-Service Based EMS Award presented by the Congressional Fire Service Institute and the MedicAlert Foundation.

“Checklists are already successfully used in other industries where safety is paramount, such as surgery, nuclear energy and aviation. In the fire service, we’ve used checklists for years at fire scenes, but this is the first time the concept has been applied to improve outcomes on medical aid calls,” Maxwel said.

More than 75 percent of the nearly 20,000 emergency responses in Fire District 1 last year were for medical aid. All Fire District 1 firefighters are certified as either emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

“We strive to provide the best care possible when people call 9-1-1 with a medical emergency,” Fire Chief Ed Widdis said. “These EMS checklists are a new tool to assure that the highest quality of care is consistently provided. That is what we are all about.”

Fire District 1’s cardiac arrest survival rate of nearly 50 percent is one of the best in the nation and well above the national average of about 10 percent (as measured using internationally recognized standards.

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