Bill seeks to enhance first responder data

October 16, 2020
In The News

Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA) and Fred Keller (R-PA) introduced Wednesday a measure designed to address chronic miscounting of first responders, chiefly firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

The EMS Counts Act of 2020 would ensure the government’s nationwide collection of accurate, comprehensive data regarding first responder quantity, location, and training. Such an effort is essential to ensuring communities can quickly respond to emergencies, including outbreaks of diseases and natural disasters.

“Our first responders play an absolutely critical role in keeping our communities safe,” Wild said. “Throughout this pandemic, we have seen this diverse group of health care practitioners step up to serve our communities in inspiring and selfless ways, and making sure we have an accurate count of these first responders will help us meet the health and safety needs of our communities through this crisis and in future emergencies.”

EMS comprises a varied group of first responders and healthcare practitioners that includes Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and dual-role Firefighter/EMTs and Firefighter /Paramedics.

Authorities cited as an example while the Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics (BLS) collects data on and releases a monthly jobs report including job creation and loss information – the Department of Labor’s current occupational classification system does not accurately classify firefighters whose primary job is being a paramedic or EMT.

“Whether firefighters, paramedics, or other first responders, EMS personnel work collectively and often perform multiple duties to keep our communities safe,” Keller said. “Without accurate data that recognizes EMS personnel who perform dual roles, many departments miss out on vital grant funding and other investments.”