Snohomish County Fire District 1 has hired Kristen Thorstenson as a community resource specialist, focusing on emergency medical services prevention and education programs.
Thorstenson brings more than 25 years of experience in home health and injury prevention and education working with Fire District 1, Marysville Fire District, the Safety Restraint Coalition and SafeKids and other agencies.
Falls prevention will be a major emphasis of Thorstenson’s new job. She will be working closely with Fire District 1’s successful community paramedic program to help manage referrals and outreach for patients with needs outside the scope of traditional EMS programs.
“We respond to more than a thousand falls each year. This is one of the top three reasons patients are referred to our community paramedic. Kristen will be establishing a falls prevention program for patients who have fallen or who are at risk of falling,” explained Capt. Shaughn Maxwell, head of Fire District 1’s Emergency Medical Services Division.
Thorstenson will follow-up with these patients to provide information, assistance in accessing existing social services or scheduling a home visit for a falls risk assessment and safety survey.
Thorstenson will coordinate public first aid and CPR courses offered monthly by Fire District 1. “We hope to expand these programs to increase bystander CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) use,” she said.
Thorstenson will also develop community emergency preparedness education programs.
Fire District 1 is the largest provider of fire and emergency medical services in Snohomish County, with full-time staffing at 12 fire stations. The department serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.