Levy asks voters to fund King County emergency responders

SEATTLE -- In less than a month, voters in King County will decide if they want to keep funding emergency responders.

On Tuesday night, the men and women charged with saving lives pleaded for support, as did a man who says he's only alive today because of Medic One.

The levy ordinance goes up for renewal every six years. It failed in 1997, and that's something one survivor doesn't want to see happen again.

"The sensation was, I started to get dizzy and I knew it was serious and I felt an impending doom," said Peris Joyner.

When Joyner stepped off the Link Light Rail after suffering cardiac arrest, he thought his days were over. But someone nearby started CPR until Medic One got there.

"They took control, they intubated me, they started an IV to give me the necessary drugs, and they defibrillated me," Joyner said.

He said he's sure that emergency responders saved his life.

"Well, I guess my number came up, but I got dealt another number," he said.

Now Medic One needs voters to save its life. A proposed levy asks the average King County property owner to continue paying a little more than $100 a year to raise $695 million over the next six years.

"If it doesn't pass, we basically won't have the funding come January one," said Kent Fire Department battalion chief Greg Markley

King County Medic One/EMS has the highest survival rate in the country, and Joyner is living proof.

"You never know when it's going to be your time to call on Medic One," Joyner said. "And when it is your time, you want someone to be there to be able to respond to give you a second chance at life."

If the levy fails, King County officials would have to pass an emergency resolution to fund advanced life support and fire departments would see a budget shortfall, according to Markley, who called that idea "catastrophic"

Medic One serves roughly two million people and responds to a medical emergency every three minutes.