Fire District 1 promotes four paramedics

From left, Capt. John Magee, Paul Easter, Chris East and Capt. Gene Smith have been promoted to the new position of 24-hour Medical Services Officer in Snohomish County Fire District 1.

From left, Capt. John Magee, Paul Easter, Chris East and Capt. Gene Smith have been promoted to the new position of 24-hour Medical Services Officer in Snohomish County Fire District 1.

Snohomish County Fire District 1 recently promoted four paramedics to serve as medical services officers.

Fire District 1 added the 24-hour medical services officer position to enhance patient care and expand support for first responders working in the field. The four paramedics selected for the new position work rotating shifts to provide around-the-clock response for the more than 200,000 residents served by Fire District 1 in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway.

The four paramedics promoted to the new position are:

Chris East, a 13-year district employee who most recently worked at Fire Station 17 in downtown Edmonds. East has been a leader in the district’s competency-based training program for emergency medical technicians. He also helped develop specifications and standards for outfitting the district’s medic units.

Paul Easter has been with the district for 23 years. He completed his paramedic training at Harborview Medical Center in 2004. Easter most recently worked at Fire Station 10 north of Lynnwood.

Capt. John Magee came to the district 14 years ago from the Houston Fire Department. Since 2005, he has been assigned to the district’s Emergency Medical Services Division, where he was responsible for ordering and maintaining supplies on the district’s medical response units.

Capt. Gene Smith was one of the first paramedics hired when Fire District 11 (now part of Fire District 1) launched its advanced life support program in 1994. He most recently served as a captain at Mountlake Terrace Fire Station 19.

Fire District 1 is the county’s largest provider of fire and emergency medical services and the only department in the county with a 24-hour medical services officer. The district earned national recognition earlier this year as the recipient of the 2013 award for Excellence in Fire-Service-Based Emergency Medical Services.

“We are always looking for ways we can better meet the needs of the citizens we serve. Our new medical services officer program not only provides more support for our paramedics on the street, but also allows more attention to be focused on how to provide the best quality patient care,” Fire Chief Ed Widdis said.

Fire District 1 Medical Director Dr. Richard Campbell said having a 24-hour medical services officer “enhances the already exceptional care that is provided every day in the district.”

Shaughn Maxwell, a captain in the district’s EMS Division, said the new medical services officers are already coming up with innovative ways to improve the delivery of medical care. “These people really care. We have the right people on board and our service will be better because of what these people are going to be doing out there on the street,” he said.

About 80 percent of the nearly 20,000 emergency calls that Fire District 1 responded to last year were for medical aid. All firefighters in the district are certified as either emergency medical technicians or paramedics. Fire District 1 has a cardiac arrest save rate that is well above the national average (measured using internationally recognized standards).

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