New Texas law allows firefighters to transport patients in FD vehicles
The law requires EMS and trauma care systems to develop transport protocols by Jan. 1, 2024
By Bill Carey
AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that will allow firefighters to use fire apparatus to transport patients to hospitals, helping the rural parts of the state hard to reach by ambulance.
In certain rural areas, firefighters respond quicker than ambulances. Under Texas law, it was illegal for firefighters to transport people to the hospital, even if they were in critical need. House Bill 624 changes that but it won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024, CBS 19 reported.
Rep. Cody Harris wrote the bill. “In situations where it's truly life or death, if it's your baby lying in there that needs immediate attention,” Harris said. “You don't care how they get to the hospital; you just want them there to get the treatment that they need so desperately in that moment.”
“A lot of times what we see when a call goes into 911, the very first people to respond to that call are firefighters,” Harris said. “Whether that's volunteer fire to firefighters, or a small city's fire department, those are the first guys there.”
The bill received bipartisan support in the House and Senate and passed without opposition.
The East Texas Regional Advisory Council will meet to further clarify when exactly firefighters are allowed to make that transport decision. The advisory council will finalize the terminology that will apply to firefighters in East Texas.