By Leslie Hynes, Snohomish County Fire District 1 Public Information Officer.
Snohomish County Fire District 1 was honored as the winner of the national award for Excellence in Fire Service Based Emergency Medical Service in a presentation on August 1, 2013 at the Martha Lake Fire Station 21 near Mill Creek.
The Congressional Fire Services Institute and the MedicAlert Foundation present this competitive award annually to honor innovative practices which enhance the quality of emergency medical services (EMS).
Fire District 1 was recognized for its pioneering use of EMS checklists to improve patient outcomes.
“This national award recognizes the outstanding achievements of the nearly 200 firefighters at the 12 fire stations we staff in south Snohomish County,” said Fire District 1 Chief Ed Widdis.
Fire District 1 is using the EMS checklists to highlight critical areas of care to improve patient outcomes. “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 on medical aid calls,” explained Capt. Shaughn Maxwell, who along with Dr. Richard Campbell, Fire District 1’s medical director, developed the EMS checklist program.
The EMS checklists are attracting national attention, not just from the committee that selected Fire District 1 to receive the national EMS excellence award. Maxwell presented the program to fire service and EMS leaders at the International Association of Fire Chiefs EMS conference in Las Vegas on May 7 and has received inquiries from several departments who want to use Fire District 1’s program as a model.
Fire District 1 is Snohomish County’s largest provider of fire and emergency medical services, serving nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated communities, Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, and Woodway.
About 77 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.