Emergency Medical Services Administrators' Association of California

Emergency Medical Services Administrators' Association of California

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Valley Fire

The recent Valley Fire consumed over 76,000 acres and destroyed over 1300 homes in mostly-rural Lake and Napa counties. Region II's Disaster Medical Health Specialist Kelly Coleman was very busy sharing situation status reports and coordinating resource requests for shelter medical and mental health needs in the impacted area. Surrounding counties from Region II responded generously with management, medical, mental health and other disaster support staff. Field operations included the deployment of Medical Reserve Corps units from Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Cruz to provide disaster medical services for evacuation centers, public shelters and local assistance centers. Important lessons in interagency coordination and communication, resource ordering, and demobilization will eventually be shared with fellow LEMSA colleagues, and our public health and medical partners.
Legislation by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to increase public and private access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in California, was signed on September 3rd by the Governor. AED’s are the most effective way to save heart attack victims. Senate Bill 658, which cleared the Senate last week on a 34-0 vote, streamlines state requirements that commercial building owners and public facilities need to follow to be immune from liability if they have AEDs on their property. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Individuals, acting as good Samaritans, are already protected from liability if they cause harm while using the devices. But under current law, facilities like schools, office buildings, stadiums and shopping malls that have AEDs are only immune from liability if they meet onerous conditions, including costly training and medical oversight requirements. Current liability requirements are relics of the 1990s when AEDs did not have voice commands, pre-connected shock pads, long-lasting batteries, or voice-command CPR coaching.

New-generation AEDs are so user friendly that nearly anyone can successfully use them without training or practice. They even have a built-in computer that monitors the heart rhythm of the cardiac arrest victim to determine if a shock should be administered. SB 658 modernizes liability requirements with more basic safeguards such as battery checks, AED maintenance,  AED location notification for building tenants, posting of instructions next to the device, and an annual demonstration for building tenants.


At its meeting in San Diego on September 2, the State Commission on EMS approved regulations creating an appeal procedure for local EMS agencies whose EMS Plan has been disapproved or denied by the California EMS Authority. Under existing statute, the Commission may hear an appeal regarding negative action by EMSA on a local EMS Plan. These new regulations provide procedural steps for these appeals using the California Administrative Procedure Act. Several local EMS agencies have experienced recent denials of their EMS Plan by the Authority, and new procedure is expected to be utilized immediately.
Michael Petrie announced he has accepted a permanent role as EMS Director for Monterey County. He had been serving as Monterey's Interim EMS Director since late April. Previously, Mike also has served as EMS Director for Santa Clara County EMS and as EMS Administrator for San Francisco EMS so he is very experienced and knowledgeable. EMSAAC wishes our talented colleague the very best with his latest assignment.

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