Firefighters could be exempt from expired certifications - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Firefighters could be exempt from expired certifications

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A state legislator in Louisiana has launched a new bill that would exempt firefighters from medical fines when giving care to patients as an EMT under an expired certification.

Rep. Karen St. Germain of Plaquemine is authoring House Bill 1030 and it is already working its way through the legislature.

The purpose of the bill is to exempt firefighters from the authority of the Louisiana Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission to conduct disciplinary hearings, request investigations, and initiate prosecution.

The Louisiana Firefighter's Union is backing St. Germain's bill.

Union member Jeremy Leblanc of the Lake Charles Fire Department said the crews respond to hundreds of extrications and car accidents every year.

Leblanc said in some circumstances EMS certifications aren't always up to date in time for emergencies.

"It's really a gloomy cloud that might hang over your head knowing that you can't do certain things because your certificate or your certification just expired," said Leblanc.

Leblanc said now if a firefighter is performing EMT duties with an expired certification then it is an automatic fine.

But under the proposed bill, a medical oversight committee would review the actions of the EMT and determine whether or not a fine is necessary.

Leblanc said he supports this bill as it will further protect firefighters while they are out performing their duties.

"If you're doing the best you can and you're trying to help other people, it's always good to know that you are covered," said Leblanc.

House bill 1030 just made its way in to the legislature on Monday, March 29th.

If you would like to read St. Germain's entire bill, click on "House Bill 1030" to the right.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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