MIL-OSI USA: Collins, Casey Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Disaster Preparation


US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for Maine Susan Collins
Washington, D.C. – To help improve disaster preparations, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation that would correct an undercount in emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. The EMS Counts Act would require the U.S. Department of Labor to collect accurate occupational data on first responders in order to ensure a correct count of EMS personnel across the nation.
Under their current classification system, the Department of Labor does not accurately classify firefighters whose primary job is being a paramedic or EMT, leading to a chronic and significant undercount of EMS personnel. Many firefighters whose primary jobs are paramedics or EMTs are undercounted, making it challenging for communities to plan for emergencies and disasters. The EMS Counts Act would rectify this oversight by allowing firefighters to identify themselves as cross-trained EMS providers and paramedics.
“Whether an automobile accident, a fire, a health crisis, or another catastrophe, emergency responders are there in those first critical minutes when courage, skill, and compassion are most needed,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would support these first responders by requiring the Department of Labor to accurately categorize cross-trained providers, such as firefighters whose primary job is being a paramedic. As a senator representing one of the most rural states in the country, I will continue to support the brave men and women who work multiple roles around the clock to protect our communities.”
“Emergency medical services personnel and paramedics are on the front lines of emergencies and disasters, making them an absolutely essential workforce,” said Senator Casey. “It is important that we have the most up-to-date information about emergency medical services personnel, especially firefighters who take on multiple roles. This legislation takes an important step to ensure that our EMS personnel are best equipped to carry out their vital missions and our communities are taken care of.”
“I thank Senator Casey and Senator Collins for introducing the EMS Counts Act. This bill will better describe America’s fire and EMS workforce. As the nation’s first responders face workforce issues, this legislation will help us to better understand how many firefighters, firefighter/EMTs, firefighter/paramedics, and other types of firefighters serve their communities every day,” said Fire Chief Kenneth Stuebing, President and Board Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“NAEMT applauds Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for introducing the EMS Counts Act of 2021. The bill will require the Secretary of Labor to revise the Standard Occupational Classification System to more accurately count the number of Paramedics and EMTs in the United States. This legislation will improve the ability of state and federal government agencies to effectively utilize and support our nation’s EMS workforce in caring for the sick and injured and responding to major disasters, public health crises and mass casualty incidents. We look forward to working with Senators Casey and Collins on this foundational bill. We call on Congress to pass this legislation in short order,” said Bruce Evans, Fire Chief, Upper Pine River Fire Protection District of Bayfield, Colorado and President of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.
The EMS Counts Act is supported by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, American Ambulance Association, National Association of State EMS Officials, National Association of EMS Physicians, National Association of EMS Educators, International Academy of Emergency Dispatch, National EMS Management Association, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the Association of Air Medical Services.
U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA) and Fred Keller (R-PA) introduced companion legislation in the House.
Click HERE to read the bill summary.
In June, Senators Collins and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the Protecting Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure that all communities, including rural and underserved areas, have access to quality emergency health care.