Two bills designed to help improve emergency response services in rural areas have been signed into law. House Bill 5828 and House Bill 4523 will allow greater access to life-saving equipment and supplies needed by first responders in rural areas.
House Bill 5828 will allow rural firefighters who are trained as paramedics to have better access to the equipment and supplies needed to utilize their skills in an emergency. Specialized emergency medical service vehicles and alternate response vehicles, such as those used by fire departments, can receive service-level upgrades similar to those received by ambulances, which will allow the trucks to carry supplies and equipment that might otherwise only be available on an ambulance. Many rural communities do not have an ambulance service, but most are part of a fire protection district.
House Bill 4523 allows an ambulance-service provider serving a rural population of 7,500 or fewer to request to upgrade the vehicle’s in-field service level based on the certification of a pre-hospital Registered Nurse staffing the ambulance. Previously, only an EMT license certification could be used to upgrade the ambulance’s service level.