My name is Dave Germain. I live in the Toledo area and have been here since 1990. I have been an EMT since 1976 and a Paramedic since 1980. I worked as a professional Firefighter/Paramedic for 27 years. I have also worked for several private ambulance companies, one hospital-based EMS system and a multi-fire district EMS system similar to the Lewis County Medic One system.
I have been following the reports in the Town Crier of the Medic One system's current financial woes. Originally the system was District 2 (Toledo), District 20 (Vader/Ryderwood) and District 15 (Winlock) as the founding stakeholders. At some point Napavine, Salkum, Onalaska, and Mossyrock signed on as contractees.
This year I started attending the various Interlocal (Medic One) meetings as well as fire district meetings. At this point some of the districts had pledged support to the Medic One system while others have actually refused. Napavine and Mossyrock have quit the system. Napavine contracted with a private ambulance company to provide paramedic service while Mossyrock has simply decided to load the patient and drive to the hospital rather than wait for the advanced care the paramedics can provide.
The Lewis County Medic One system provides advanced life support to people of the involved fire districts. While I am quite aware that the EMTs for fire districts 1, 2, 8, 15 and 20 can and do deliver some top-notch emergency care, they are not trained to provide Advanced Life Support. This is, by law, the responsibility of the paramedics.
According to statistics from the American Heart Association, a patient in cardiac arrest has only a one percent chance of survival when Advanced Cardiac Life Support is more than nine minutes away- even with immediate bystander CPR. To summarize- those districts deciding not to support the Medic One ALS system have made a financial decision to not give the 911 users of in their district the best chance of survival that is possible. I know this is cold, hard and blunt but it truly is Life or Death.
(Editor's Note: Medic One met Tuesday of this week to discuss topics such as the future participation of its contract districts.)