The first item in the news this week has to do with the hurricanes striking the central Gulf Coast of the United States. Hurricane Isaac has already been there by the time you’ve heard this and perhaps its remnants are here in the Northeast and catching some of the leftover rain from that event. There are things that happened in emergency services that are important to note and understand how mutual aid agreements work and how states can handle emergency situations, disaster situations.
State of Emergency
One of the things that allows them to do special measures is the declaration of a state of emergency and that’s important because that gives the governor and emergency management officials specific powers during the time that emergency has been declared. One of the things that the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, announced this past week was an executive order for the duration of the be hurricane recovery process that the need for a Louisiana license to operate as an EMT or paramedic in the state of Louisiana. Now this is for covered agencies invited to come and assist either by the state of Louisiana or the Federal emergency management officials.
So you would go in there and operate under your protocols, under your license from whatever state or jurisdiction you come from.You would go in there and then use those protocols, your equipment and your materials and operate within the scope of your own practice. That’s an important thing and I think it’s important for us to remember this is how we operate under mutual aid agreements. Even if you don’t have a specific mutual aid agreement, Governors in states and specific emergency situations can waive some of those requirements in order to provide care for their states or send aid to another state for a limited time.
Disaster and Pandemic Response
We’ve seen this in past with the need for vaccinations for H1N1 influenza, for instance. Many states suspended regulations limiting who could give vaccines in order to allow paramedics to do vaccines for a limited time frame. The State of Maryland did that and actually wrote wrote it into our protocol formally after the fact.
That’s just some of the instances we use this type of a mutual aid or special emergency agreements for this type of emergency suspension of certain duties or certain responsibilities in order to provide care and support. It’s good to understand how that works. Checkout this particular link over in the show notes and if you have any comments about this, if you’ve participated in recovery operations under these types of conditions and would like to share with the rest of us send me an e-mail to podmedic@Mac.com.
Find the links for this article and the rest of this week’s show at – West Nile Virus Interview and Episode 298.