Ed Ulrich, who began his Kirkland Fire Department career when firefighters still rode on fire engine tailboards and has been a pioneer EMT in the use of electrical shock on cardiac arrest patients, has been presented a 35-year Service Award by the city.
An Emergency Medical Technician and a founding member of the Eastside Hazardous Materials Response Team, Ulrich was honored at the Kirkland City Council's meeting Tuesday night.
“Ed was one of the program's pioneers demonstrating in 1978 that firefighters can effectively deliver a life-saving electrical shock to a cardiac arrest patients long before the patient arrives at a hospital for definitive care and treatment,” said Deputy Chief Helen Ahrens-Byington. “Ed, thank you for your 35 years of dedicated, professional, and caring service to the Kirkland Fire Department and the citizens of Kirkland.”
Ulrich now serves as Department Training Officer, instructing firefighters in driver training, emergency vehicle incident prevention and hazardous materials awareness. At one point in his career, he used his emergency medical skills to deliver a baby in Kirkland, only six weeks after delivering one of his own five children at home.
When he began his career with Kirkland, the fire department made about 1,500 calls a year. Today it makes about 7,200, and the majority are emergency medical calls.
“I’ve been extremely blessed because I have the greatest job in the world,” Ulrich told the council. He also thanked council members and their predecessors, as well as city managers past and present, for never instituting a reduction in force or layoffs at the fire department in his 35 years.
“If my health holds up, I hope to make it to 40,” he added with a smile.