House Bill 3132 Rural fire departments

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Governor Stitt has signed House Bill 3132, which removes restrictions on rural first response agencies so they can perform emergency medical care until an ambulance can arrive on the scene.

According to Representative Gerrid Kendrix, before House Bill 3132, some first responders were not allowed legally to perform certain life-saving measures if necessary.

Altus-area Representative Kendrix played a crucial role in getting this bill passed and said it’s common sense.

When this bill goes into effect, first responders can enter into an agreement with local EMS agencies, and under their medical direction, they can assist in saving someone’s life.

“In several incidents, they have seen situations that were life-saving measures were necessary, such as providing oxygen. And under the current law, they were not allowed to do that, without operating under the EMS service or the medical director of the EMS service. So we want to make sure that’s available. I mean I know a lot of times the firemen are going to do whatever it takes to save a life regardless. We just don’t want to have a scenario where they’re providing service rescuing a citizen and they have a lawsuit against them because the law says their not allowed to do that,” Kendrix said.

Wayne Cain the director of Jackson County EMS said there is a shortage across the state and the nation for EMS services. He said someone’s life can depend on that local firefighter to be legally able to save someone’s life.

“You know those first few minutes until EMS arrives, are extremely critical. In a life-saving event, if they did not do something that they were qualified to do, we may not need the medics there. It’s sad to say but it’s true,” Cain said.

Jackson County EMS Paramedic Alex Garland said firefighters, first responders, and EMS members are in an industry where seconds matter.

“So it’s incredibly important that we get people there sooner, faster, in a more localized area. With people who know the roads, people who know the general locations, because the maps are not always right,” Garland said.

House bill 3132 will go into effect on November 1, 2022