OKLAHOMA, USA — The Oklahoma governor has signed legislation into law giving firefighters the authority to transport patients to the hospital in emergency situations.
Senate Bill 1515, written by Sen. Darrell Weaver and Rep. Mike Osburn, was filed in response to a situation where an Oklahoma City firefighter was disciplined for his decision to drive a 3-year-old burn victim to the hospital in his fire truck after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
“The child’s parents were extremely grateful for the firefighter’s actions, but under the current law, he didn’t have the authority to take the patient to the hospital,” Weaver said. “SB 1515 ensures important protocols will be followed but allows flexibility in limited emergency situations. I appreciate the tremendous support we received in both chambers and from the governor for this legislation.”
SB 1515, taking effect Nov. 1, allows certified emergency medical response agencies to provide limited transport in an emergency vehicle after receiving the approval of the appropriate medical control. However, emergency transportation would not be required if a patient’s apparent clinical condition does not warrant emergency ambulance transport.
Osburn said the bill was requested by the Edmond and Oklahoma City Fire Departments.
"Allowing emergency vehicles other than ambulances to transport someone to the hospital in an emergency situation or during a disaster – when every moment counts – will save lives and improve medical response times," Osburn said. "I was glad to be able to secure House passage of this common-sense update to statute and happy to see it signed into law."
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