Lawmakers Delay Emergency Medical Regulation

The director of emergency medical services for the state said a delay in certification of first responders gives officials time to ensure good regulation.

Lawmakers on Friday delayed for two years a law that requires state certification. The law, which was scheduled to take effect next Monday, will be effective July 1, 2004.

Jim Craig, executive director of the Health Department's EMS division, said it could take several months to establish state certification guidelines, which would be aired in public hearings throughout the state.

The law requires first responders to not only be certified by the state Health Department, but also by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The law will affect between 6,000 and 10,000 volunteers and others who are trained as first responders.

Craig said he hopes the guidelines will be ready when the state Board of Health meets in October, or by the time of its first meeting in 2003.

There is no certification process now.

"We're not sure of anything above the basic curriculum,'' Craig said, adding that training for first responders follows guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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