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We provide training and education for thousands of EMTs and first responders representing 28 fire departments in King County. These men and women are among the most trained and - more importantly - most practiced providers of BLS care of systems anywhere, and are the backbone of our world-renowned emergency medical response.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) continuing education

We develop and produce Competency Based Training (CBT) and online continuing education (CE) for EMTs in King County. Every fall, we hold over 20 CBT Instructor workshops to train the 500+ instructor-evaluators who oversee the practical skills training at their own agencies. CE training is available through King County's own online learning platform, EMS Online.

We have also created and produced a video called, "Pediatric Sick/Not Sick" currently available by contacting our office.

NOTE: King County EMS Online Training is accessible only to EMS providers who have established EMS Online accounts with King County EMS. Your training officer can submit your name and obtain your username and password. For further information or technical support, please contact us using our online form or call the EMS Division at 206-296-4693.

EMT classes

We offer two initial EMT-B training classes per year, designed primarily for members of King County fire agencies. Our EMT classes are more than 120 hours of classroom and practical work with 10 hours of hospital observation time. These classes are held in partnership with our regional fire departments and occur in the Spring and Fall of each year. Information regarding eligibility and class schedules can be obtained from your sponsoring agency.

Another opportunity to receive initial EMT training is the Strategic Training and Recruitment (S.T.A.R.) program which provides an opportunity to those that are traditionally under-represented in the fire and EMS workforce in our region. The goal of this program is to create an fire and EMS workforce that is representative of the communities that we serve. Eligibility requirements for this program include - must be 18 years of age, have a high school degree or G.E.D, WA driver's license, up to date on immunization and vaccination before first day of class, and must be able to get to/from class. While this program is open to the region, preference is provided to King County residents. Information on this application-based program can be found below or by emailing

If you are currently not enrolled in a King County fire agency, we suggest considering the following local community colleges which offer a full EMT training program:

EMT certification

One of our roles within the state and county EMS community is to serve as the liaison between the State Department of Health and the 28 fire agencies within King County. We do this by providing the EMS community with pertinent and important information from the state regarding continuing education, recertification and important regulation and policy changes as well as the processing of any documents as required to support these activities.

Defibrillation training — The Essence of Life!

King County EMS started to explore the concept of early defibrillation in the mid to late 1970s. Dr. Mickey Eisenberg was interested, along with Dr. Leonard Cobb, in the concept of using these unique machines in Aid Cars of the local fire departments.

King County EMS began studies to assess patient outcome in specific situations. At this time, we had specific areas with Medic One units as well as geographic areas without Medic One units. This was a perfect scenario to ascertain the patient outcome with defibrillation and ALS services and without ALS services. The data compiled was interesting, to say the least. Outcome without early defibrillation was minimal -- less than 8% survival. With early defibrillation and no ALS services the survival rate was 26%. With early defibrillation and ALS services the survival rate was 38%.

We recognized the importance of early CPR to improve patient outcome for cardiact arrests. Along with the Medic 2 program we initiated citizen CPR and dispatcher assisted CPR.

With this data in hand, we recognized that in order to give the best care to the citizens of King County we needed to add early defibrillation training to the EMTs of King County. Defibrillation was added to the EMT classes in the 1980s. We were the first EMS division in the world to recognize the importance of EMTs and First Responders in providing early defibrillation and an increase in patient survival rates.

Dr. Richard Cummins took the lead, and with his help we also changed the American Heart Association's protocol for CPR.

We are continuing to help improve our patients' survivability to this lethal situation. We continue to gain data and are looking for better responses from our aid cars. In adding Public Access Defibrillation (PAD), we expect to see even better results in the future.

We are saving 46% of all patients found in Ventriculation Fibrillation (VF) sudden death. Compared to cities that save 3-4%, this is exceptional. It comes from hard work and continuing education of the firefighters and paramedics of this county.

Early Defibrillation Program

The overall goal of the Early Defibrillation Program is to resuscitate the greatest number of persons from sudden cardiac arrest. The program reaches this goal by meeting the following program objectives:

  • Provide centralized medical direction and program resources
  • Provide clear, concise standing orders while allowing the EMT-D/FR-D to utilize sound medical judgment when appropriate
  • Conduct consistent, effective, and scenario-based initial defibrillation training
  • Provide instructors with current information and effective training tools with annual refresher training
  • Maintain adequate skill levels through consistent, periodic continuing education
  • Ensure program quality improvement through field event quality assurance and continuous program improvement
  • Promote the consistent use of well-maintained defibrillation equipment

The specific goals of the Defibrillation Standing Orders are:

  • Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) is to be shocked repeatedly and as rapidly as possible
  • Effective CPR is to be performed and interrupted for a minimum time
  • Overall patient care and safety are never to be neglected

The Automated External Defibrillation training course requires approximately four hours of classroom and practical training, provided by King County EMS (or a fire department local course director that has been approved by KCEMS). Practical training for this course is scenario based. The EMT-D is required to attend a defibrillation Continuing Education (CE) session during each quarter of a twelve-month period.

The Defibrillation Quality Assurance Coordinator reviews recordings of field cardiac arrest events. An assessment of the overall performance for each VF case reviewed, including any noted areas requiring improvement or additional training, is sent to the agency's Training Officer (or other designated person). When trends or frequently observed performance concerns are noted during event recording reviews, the Training Coordinator is informed of such concerns, in order to identify methods of improving performance throughout the program.


In King County there are two recognized levels of pre-hospital care: Paramedic and EMT-B. In all counties in Washington state except for King, you may be able to reciprocate your current recognized level of care. In King County, you can only reciprocate as an EMT-B. The following steps are required to gain reciprocity as an EMT-B from other states or the National Registry.


Complete a Health Department approved HIV/AIDS Prevention class (Note: you must complete the 7-hour course approved for Washington state). Visit the WA State Dept. of Health's HIV/AIDS Training for Licensure webpage for a list of approved organizations that have web-based applications that can help you meet this requirement.


If you do not already possess a National Registry Basic Card, you will need to obtain one. If you have a National Registry Card and have not re-tested within a year from the time it was issued (written exam) then you will need to take the National Registry Assessment Exam for Washington State. This exam is administered through the National Registry. Information on how to do this can be found at the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians website.


Complete pages 1-4 of Out-of-State reciprocity application (PDF). Be sure to read the instructions, print it out and complete it in ink. If you have any questions on about application, please call the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) at 360-236-4700 to speak with someone for clarification.


Complete the EMS Verification Form (part 4 of the application). After completing the EMS Verification Form send it directly to the state EMS office in which you obtained your credential. If you do not, it will delay your Washington State credential from being issued.

You can usually find the address for your state office by using the internet. Use your favorite internet search to search for YOUR State then EMS. The purpose of this form allows the state from where you hold your current certification to disclose your EMS records to Washington State. If you are only National Registry Certified, you do not need to complete this part of the application.


EMS Supervisor / Medical Program Director Signature Form. This is the last part of the application process and form in your Application packet. You are eligible for certification as an EMT-B in Washington State when you find agency affiliation. Your next step is to gain agency affiliation with a pre-hospital care agency such as ambulance or fire service in Washington state.

For those seeking an ER or surgery Tech position, these are not considered to be pre-hospital care agencies and will not work in order to obtain a Washington State credential. Depending on the institution your National Registry certification may suffice instead, you will need to check with the institution that you wish to seek employment with for clarification.

When you establish agency affiliation, you will need to complete the EMS Supervisor / Medical Program Director Signature Form with the prospective agency in which you wish to work or volunteer. Your agency supervisor will then send it to our office for MPD signature. We will then send it the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) who will then issue your credential. An EMT-B card will be mailed to you at the address on the application within 6 weeks' time. If there is a problem with your application, WA DOH will contact you directly for clarification by letter.

If you have any further questions regarding reciprocity or challenge in King County, you may contact Jason Hammond at 206-263-8054 or by e-mail at:

For additional information about EMS in Washington state, please see: Washington State Emergency Medical Services.

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