Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/06/1997 04:08 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                
 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           
 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           

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