President Barack Obama proclaimed May 18 through May 24 as Emergency Medical Services Week in a Presidential Proclamation earlier this month.
As the county’s largest provider of fire and emergency medical services, Fire District 1 provides around-the-clock staffing at 12 fire stations to serve nearly 200,000 residents Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Edmonds and unincorporated communities in south Snohomish County.
“Almost 80 percent of our 911 calls are for medical aid,” said Fire Chief Ed Widdis. “All our firefighters respond to aid calls as well as fires and other emergencies. All are certified as either emergency medical technicians or paramedics. We recognize and thank them for their professionalism as well as their compassion for the citizens we serve.”
Fire District 1’s EMS program has received national acclaim for excellence and innovation recently. Earlier this year, Captain Shaughn Maxwell was named one of the profession’s top-10 innovators by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services for developing a ground-breaking checklist program to improve the quality and consistency of patient care. Last year, Fire District 1 received the award for Excellence in Fire Service Based Emergency Medical Service from the Congressional Fire Service Institute. Fire District 1 has also consistently had a cardiac arrest save rate well above the national average (measured using international standards).
“We’re continuing to look for new ways we can improve service. A great example is the community paramedic program we launched at the start of this year thanks to a grant from the Verdant Health Commission,” Widdis said. “The community paramedic follows up with patients we see on a recurring basis and helps address their needs using existing community services. Patients benefit from this approach, but so does everyone else when we reduce 911 calls and keep firefighters in service and available to respond to other emergencies.”