Emergency Medical Services
Medical Information Protection: The Fire District has a legal obligation to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and with RCW 70.02, Medical Records – Health Care Information Access and Disclosure. These statutes are what limit the use and disclosures of Personal Health Information (PHI). In accordance with these statutes, the District will make reasonable efforts to use, disclose, and request only the minimal amount of PHI necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the use and/or disclosure. The Fire District’s use general entails providing patient care, facilitating medical billing processes, and to support healthcare operations.
Fore More Detailed Information: Notice of Privacy Practices
Emergency Medical Certification: The majority of the District’s emergency responders are trained as firefighters, who are also cross-trained as emergency medical providers. There are two primary levels of emergency medical certifications:
- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) – Provide Basic Life Support (BLS) care. This includes life-sustaining cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), controlling bleeding, treating shock, stabilizing injuries and wounds, and other fundamental first-aid skills.
- Paramedics – Provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) care, which requires a solid foundation in BLS skills, training to perform more advanced life sustaining procedures including airway management, drug administration, stroke and cardiac care, ECG rhythm interpretation, Intravenous (IV) and Intraosseous (IO) access, and other advanced medical skills and procedures.
Emergency Medical Service (EMS): Nearly 90 percent of the District’s total calls for service are for medical emergencies, compared to just fewer than 10 percent for fire suppression. All emergency responders are trained in first-aid, are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), or are paramedics. Twenty-four of the District’s thirty-four career responders are certified Paramedics. The District currently provides ALS-Paramedic services from each of the three staffed stations.
Ratio of ALS vs. BLS: During 2016, the majority of EMS calls for service were BLS (68%) – requiring EMT level of care; the remaining were ALS (32%) – requiring paramedic level of care.
When a patient’s medical condition is non-life-threatening (BLS), Paramedics and/or EMTs will provide initial medical aid and will a recommended course of action. If an ambulance transport to the emergency department is warranted, they will prepare the patient for transport, which is typically provided by Olympic Ambulance.
If a patient’s condition is life-threatening, paramedics will initiate advanced levels of care (ALS) and will attend to the patient during their transport to the emergency department best suited for their needed course of treatment.
For patients suffering from severe traumatic injury, Airlift Northwest will transport them via medical helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, which serves as the regions designated Level I Trauma Center.
911 Vial: The Fire District maintains a 911 Vial program that citizens can use to ensure their medical and contact information is readily available to emergency responders during a medical emergency. The 911 Vial program ensure care givers have access crucial medical information when treating a patient who is not able to speak or unable to remember their information. The 911 Vial program also provides responders with important contact information to notify family members, arrange for pet care, etc.
911 Vial Program Information
911 Vial Replacement Forms
Heart Attack & Stroke Symptoms: When experiencing a heart attack or stroke, most patients are reluctant to seek medical attention at a time when minutes are critical to survival. Unfortunately, too many patients take a wait-and-see approach to calling 911 for reasons such as:
- Failing to recognize or dismissing the symptoms of a heart attack.
- Being fearful or unwilling to recognize their symptoms could be serious.
- Being embarrassed about calling 911 and creating a scene.
- Not fully understanding that time is of the essence.
CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, is a life sustaining procedure that preserves brain function until further life saving measures are be initiated by emergency responders.
Hands-Only CPR Instructional Video