Basic Life Support (BLS) medical services
Basic Life Support (BLS) services in the Medic One System are provided by paid and volunteer Fire Departments throughout the County. These dedicated men and women wear multiple hats. They are proficient at fire suppression and are the first unit on the scene of medical and trauma incidents.
Their job is to assess and treat life threatening emergencies and to stabilize a patient as much as possible prior to paramedic unit arrival. This often requires that Fire Department Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) perform:
- Airway management
- Rescue breathing
- Bleeding control
- Auto extrication
- Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Cardiac defibrillation
One of the most critical skills the Fire Department provides cardiac arrest patients is cardiac defibrillation. An EMT-D can "shock" the heart out of a chaotic rhythm, called ventricular fibrillation, prior to paramedic arrival. Studies in Seattle have proved that the earlier a heart is shocked out of this rhythm, the better the chances of survival.
EMTs have initial training of 110 hours and are required to maintain their skill through classes and drills.