New NJ EMS oversight may weigh heavily on volunteer squads
Governor considering new bill which increases oversight of EMT's, medics; opponents say new requirements will shut the doors of many of state's volunteer EMS units
By Andrew Kitchenmann
TRENTON, N.J. — For the second time since taking office, Gov Chris Christie may have a chance to sign a bill that increases state oversight of emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The measure (A-2463), requires that ambulance workers be licensed by the state and undergo criminal background checks.
The legislation comes at a time when the state’s longtime reliance on volunteer ambulance squads is under threat from several quarters, including increased regulation, tougher training requirements, and a general decline in volunteerism. “EMS is in crisis in New Jersey,” said Mary Daley, president of the state EMS union. — the Professional Emergency Medical Services Association. “A lot of the volunteers are falling by the wayside, a lot of it is going commercial and paid.”
Supporters of the bill argue it makes much-needed changes, adding that the current state of affairs — in which volunteer squads don’t even have to register with the state — must end. They also say the state must take action now to ensure that local departments maintain necessary standards.
Recommended Volunteer/Rural EMS
Join the discussion
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EMS1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.