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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Thurston County Medic One "Tiered Response"?

First Tier is Citizen Involvement:

  • Medic One trains citizens to recognize an emergency; to recognize signs of a heart attack, stroke or other serious emergency; how to activate the 911 system; and how to perform CPR.

Second Tier is Basic Life Support (BLS):

  • 12 Fire Agencies provide BLS, supplemented by Medic One.
  • BLS is the first EMS on scene and backbone of the system.
  • BLS average response is under 6 minutes.
  • BLS units are staffed with 2 - 4 EMTs.
  • EMT training is provided by Medic One to the agencies, without charge.
  • Medic One provides supplemental BLS funding for Fire Agencies.

Third Tier is Advanced Life Support (ALS):

  • Seven paramedic units are strategically located in the County to reduce response time.
  • ALS service is provided through contracts with Olympia Fire Department, Tumwater Fire Department, and Lacey Fire District 3.
  • ALS response average is under 6 minutes.
  • Medic Units are staffed with two paramedics.
  • Paramedics perform life saving treatments, and rapid transport while providing care.


How do we provide the most rapid response with only seven paramedic vehicles?
  • ​County-wide emergency help is provided as tiered response.
  • County-wide advanced paramedic care in 6.86 minutes is fast but, that may not be fast enough if you've stopped breathing, heart has stopped beating or are bleeding seriously.
  • Tiered response means that there is more than one level of EMS care.
  • The first level of EMS care is the informed citizen, the second is basic life support and the third level is paramedic advanced life support.
  • Tiered response helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Medic One/EMS System by matching the patient's emergency need with the right level of emergency response.
How can citizens get involved?

​The first tier is our citizens...

  • The Thurston County Medic One/EMS system trains citizens of the importance in accessing emergency medical help quickly through 9-1-1.
  • The EMS system also trains citizens how to perform Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the importance of recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack.
  • The EMS System is also becoming active in prevention.
    • Education is providing information on bicycle safety, trauma prevention and seatbelt safety.
  • Contact Medic One for a convenient CPR Class for you and your family (see CPR Training on this website).
  • Click here for CPR Training schedule.