By Andy Valencia
If you’re an Islander and have been listening to our public discussions and media, you might have this nightmare image in mind of yourself, holding your chest, on the phone, begging for help which isn’t coming. The truth is, you can set aside this anxiety, because it isn’t going to happen. And the reason is: Medic One.
On Vashon, Medic One is managed directly out of King County Emergency Medical Services, funded by its own property tax levy. King County EMS operates those Medic One trucks you’ll see around town, staffed by a pair of paramedics, capable of providing the elite tier of emergency medicine, known as Advanced Life Support. While one of the more expensive emergency medical response systems, Medic One is also one of the most effective. Nobody wants a heart attack, but Medic One provides a best-in-class response to such emergencies when they happen.
An impressive aspect of Medic One is their ownership of the need to provide emergency response all day, every day. A unit with its paramedics is on-duty 24/7. If an off-Island transport is needed, they send only one of their paramedics, so the second is still on-Island providing coverage. If an extraordinary event requires a second transport, they will use an airlift rather than leave the Island without coverage.
They are a part of the King County system, and if needed, can call for another unit to be sent across. Such units not only enjoy priority loading, but also can order a ferry to turn around and pick them up. How confident should we be that Medic One will be there? One person with deep knowledge of the service replied without hesitation, “100%.”
An old joke is that the problem with doing it right the first time is that nobody appreciates how hard it was. Medic One is easy to miss exactly because they do their job so well. Be sure to give them a friendly “thank you” the next time you see them around town.