County report highlights emergency medical program’s successes

September 6, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Sept. 6, 2011

Medics responded to 210,719 calls to 911 last year throughout King County in 7.6 minutes, on average.

The information, from a report released Tuesday, highlights the county Emergency Medical Services and Medic One system.

EMS agencies responded to 1,069 cardiac arrests and more than 33,000 trauma incidents last year. The system remains a leader in cardiac arrest survival — the survival rate is 49 percent, compared to 5 to 10 percent in many major urban areas.

The system serves more than 1.9 million people spread across 2,134 square miles.

“We are fortunate in King County to have one of the most innovative and effective Emergency Medical Services systems anywhere,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “The response that goes into every 911 call reflects extraordinary expertise and teamwork among fire departments, paramedic providers, dispatch centers, physicians, hospitals and public health workers.”

The report also highlights innovations in the EMS program, such as the Resuscitation Academy — a three-day training program to presents the basics of resuscitation science and in-depth overview of the systems in Seattle and King County to EMS managers from around the country.

CPR and automated external defibrillator training for King County residents. Studies show patients receiving early CPR and early defibrillation face a significantly improved chance of survival from cardiac arrest. The local program trained 17,792 students to perform CPR and use AEDs.

The education effort also includes senior fall prevention programs to address falls among seniors — a common and preventable occurrence accounting for a high proportion of injuries to the elderly.

“The success our EMS system has achieved in providing excellent, standardized services countywide is quite remarkable,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “Patient survival from cardiac arrest is one of the most critical measures of success for any EMS system, and survival rates in King County make our system the gold standard.”

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