Legislature(1997 - 1998)
05/06/1997 04:08 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SCSSB 164(HES) am - AUTHORITY OF EMERGENCY MED TECHS Number 0087 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the next item on the agenda was SCSSB 164(HES) am "An Act relating to the authority of an emergency medical technician at the scene of an accident or emergency." Number 0124 ELIZABETH HAGEVIG, Legislative Assistant to Senator Wilken, read the sponsor statement. She said SCSSB 164(HES) am repairs a long overdue shortcoming in our public safety network. Specifically, it provides Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's), who belong to an ambulance service or a first responder service, with appropriate and relevant authority at the scene of an accident or other medical crisis, without creating potential conflict between emergency personnel. This bill is intended to protect EMT's who arrive first on the scene of an accident or medical emergency, or who are the only emergency responders to arrive for some time, as is the case in many rural areas. MS. HAGEVIG explained that currently, we ask EMT's to perform duties necessary to their job without giving them the proper legal authority to do so. Such duties include: controlling and directing activities at the scene of an accident; temporarily blocking or redirecting traffic to avoid the scene of an accident; trespassing upon property in order to respond to an emergency call; entering a building, including a private residence, or premises where report of an injury or illness has taken place; and directing the removal or destruction of a motor vehicle or other things in order to prevent further harm to injured or ill individuals. MS. HAGEVIG added that this legislation also works in concert with existing statutes, specifically AS 18.08.086, to add the scene control duties mentioned in SB 164 under the immunity from liability statute. Because the duties mentioned above are part of the overall pursuit of providing "emergency medical services," they would automatically apply for immunity from liability under AS 18.08.086 which frees EMT's from liability while "(administering) emergency medical services." Alaska relies heavily on its emergency medical personnel, especially in rural areas where law enforcement and fire personnel are relatively few in numbers. Just as we expect EMT's to protect our safety in an emergency situation, we should reciprocate this service, and give EMT's the proper legal authority to do their jobs without compromising their personal safety. Number 0313 TOM DEAN, Chief, Emergency Medical Services , testified next via teleconference from Tok. He said two years ago he found out that EMT's did not have the legal protection to do what they do. This bill will not make any changes in what they do, but will give EMT's legal authority and protection. Number 0380 MARK JOHNSON, Chief, Community Health and Emergency Medical Services, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services, said SCSSB 164(HES) am gives EMT's the same authority that fire officers currently have in state statute. Number 0419 REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON referred to line 8, page 2, and asked when it was necessary for EMT's to destroy a motor vehicle. Number 0380 MR. JOHNSON answered that it was sometimes necessary to remove a person from a vehicle. Number 0462 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if this language was definitive. Number 0477 CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked what other language could be used to cover all situations. Number 0545 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON felt that the word, "damage," could be used. Number 0561 MR. DEAN commented that, in situations where they need to get a victim out of a vehicle, the vehicle is pretty well destroyed anyway. In instances where a person is caught in machinery, the machinery needs to be damaged in order to treat that person. Number 0615 MS. HAGEVIG explained that this question did not come up before, but the language included in the bill was directly taken from the statute providing authority to fire fighters. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER made a motion to move SCSSB 164(HES) am, version \B.a from committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. Hearing no objection SCSSB 164(HES) am was moved from the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.