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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Steve Romines, Medic One Administrator, Phone:   (360) 704-2780

Thurston County Medic One to Expand Services

OLYMPIA - Thurston County residents will benefit from Medic One changes approved by the Board of Thurston County Commissioners. Under the new contracts more hours of coverage will be provided for certain Medic One paramedic ambulances. Accordingly, a paramedic would be added to the Southwest-Grand Mound area of the county, converting a 24- hour SPRINT unit to a 24-hour dual staffed unit. The SPRINT unit would be converted to Medic 14 by June. Also included is a phase-in of increased staffing for Medic Unit 6 in the Hawks Prairie area. Under the proposal, Lacey Fire District 3 would hire three additional paramedics over the next two years to eventually reach 24- hour staffing. The phase-in would begin this summer.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe says the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council recommended the conversion of these units from temporary to permanent status. "These changes will improve paramedic response time to the south west and north east parts of the county and will also improve paramedic response time county-wide. We are happy that our partners in the many fire departments and districts are moving ahead with the expansion, which benefits all Thurston County residents.' In addition, the new contracts will result in a $34,000-a-year reduction in administrative costs. Lacey Fire Commissioner John Christiansen, commenting on the phase-in of Medic 6, says "The improvement will affect not only our fire district but the entire eastern portion of the county and allow units in other areas to remain in their primary response zones."

Annual costs of the upgrades for (the new) Medic 14 and Medic 6 will be approximately $126,000 this year and another $126,000 next year to phase in both units. "The EMS Council concluded that the changes will help with a response time that was at 88% of goals in these unit's areas. The rest of the county was well over 90% of response time goals." said Steve Romines, Medic One Administrator.

Last year, Thurston County Medic One/EMS basic life support agencies responded to 25,475 calls within a nearly 750-square-mile territory. Of those calls 9,483 responses proved severe enough to require a paramedic-tier (Medic Unit) response. Medic Units then transported more than 4,452 people facing a life-threatening emergency to an area hospital, including over 200 patients whose hearts had stopped.

The average response time for the seven county-wide Medic Units is 11.8 minutes. The new unit's goal will be to improve response time. Local fire/EMS units usually arrive in less than 7 minutes. Thurston County's population of over 252,000 citizens benefit daily from nearly 450 dual role fire/EMS personnel countywide that respond quickly. Nearly 60% of the personnel are fire volunteers.

Thurston County Medic One has begun its 38th year of county-wide paramedic operations. Medic One started responding to emergencies in August of 1974 as the first county-wide, tiered response, dual role fire/EMS emergency medical system in the nation. It was patterned after Seattle Medic One.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3