Working to ensure emergency medical services (EMS) crews are able to respond to calls for help, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter) today joined a majority in the state House to make changes regarding staffing on basic life support (BLS) ambulances.
“Staffing requirements that are unrealistic for many smaller, rural EMS agencies were sometimes forcing ambulances to stay at the station despite a nearby emergency, unnecessarily putting lives at risk,” Causer said. “Relaxing these staffing requirements during the pandemic made good sense then and it continues to make good sense now.”
Under previous state regulations, certified emergency personnel, such as firefighters with specific first-aid, CPR and emergency vehicle training, were permitted to drive ambulances with an emergency medical technician (EMT) on board. Those regulations were changed several years ago to increase the number of emergency medical responders (EMRs) or EMTs required per ambulance. That means if an ambulance company does not have the required staffing levels, they cannot leave the station at all and have to defer to another, which can significantly delay care for people in dire health conditions.
“Permanently changing these requirements will give our EMS crews the flexibility they need to continue saving lives and meeting the public safety needs of our communities,” Causer said.
Once House Bill 2097 is signed by the governor, it will take effect in 60 days.