OLYMPIA – Early on the morning of August 4th, 1974, the first crews to serve the citizens of Thurston County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system pulled their first shifts. As of this past Sunday, Medic One paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have served the citizens of Thurston County for 45 consecutive years.
Thurston County Medic One was the first countywide, paramedic tiered EMS response system in the nation. This tiering system allows for the most appropriate EMS resources to be dispatched to those in need of emergent medical care throughout Thurston County. Thurston County Medic One has now grown to support 7 Medic Units (paramedic) stationed around the county. They are in Rochester (Medic 14), Tumwater (Medic 5), Olympia (Medic 4 and Medic 10), Lacey (Medic 3 and Medic 6), and Yelm (Medic 2). These Medic Units help support the 126 licensed Aid Units (EMT / First Responder) deployed throughout the 12 fire agencies in Thurston County.
According to the Emergency Medical Services Council (EMSC) Chair, Margaret McPhee, “Thurston County is fortunate to have one of the best Emergency Medical Systems in the country. Our system works cooperatively from the time a call is received, arrival of a Medic unit, to treatment and then to transport if necessary. Our well-trained paramedics are prepared for broken bones, seizures, car accidents, heart attacks, and more.”
Commissioner Gary Edwards, EMSC member for the Board of County Commissioners said, “I am very proud to be part of this county where we are putting our citizens lives first and making sure our first responders are trained at the highest level to respond to emergencies.” He said, “I thank each and every one of our medic one staff for the sacrifices they make to ensure Thurston County citizens and visitors are taken care of.”
The Medic One levy was approved in 1973, established in 1974, and was annually and continuously renewed by voters until 1999. In 1999, the Thurston County voters approved a permanent Thurston County Medic One levy. The permanent levy passed with 76.01% approval, which was the highest ‘yes’ since 1985 and was established in 2000.
Medic One funds are used for: Citizen CPR training; dispatch of EMS calls from the 9-1-1 system; Advanced Life Support (paramedic) wages, continuing education, vehicles, equipment, supplies; Basic Life Support (EMT/First Responder) initial training, continuing education, medical equipment, and supplies; and EMS system coordination and support. Along with the services provided above, Thurston County Medic One does not charge a transport fee for paramedic services and never has.
By the Numbers
In 2018, Thurston County Medic One Medic Units (paramedics) responded to 10,192 total calls and Aid Units (EMTs / First Responders) responded to 24,209 calls for service. This totaled to 34,401 EMS calls for service in Thurston County in 2018.
Medic One programs also trained 4,188 Thurston County citizens in CPR last year. As of July 1st, 2019, Medic One has already surpassed those trained in 2018, and is on track to double the number of citizens trained in CPR.
Medic One would like to sincerely thank all of the citizens in Thurston County for their continued support over the past 45 years and would like to equally thank all of the 700+ hard-working and talented responders serving Thurston County.
Happy 45th Anniversary, Medic One!! Here’s to 45 more!