Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.) was recently joined by Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-Pa.) in introducing the EMS Counts Act, bipartisan legislation to address the chronic miscounting of first responders, especially firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The bill was originally introduced last October and has been reintroduced for the current Congress.
More accurate personnel counts can provide the federal government with better data about the quantity, location, and training levels of first responders throughout the U.S.
Perhaps most importantly, the EMS Counts Act would require a revision of the Standard Occupational Classification System, dividing "firefighter" into sub-categories. The sub-categories will allow firefighters to identify themselves as cross-trained EMS providers.
The current counts do not recognize dual-role firefighters/EMTS or firefighter/paramedics, leading to inaccurate job reports and undercounting EMTs and paramedics. With inaccurate numbers, it becomes difficult to track gaps in emergency services and meet the emergency medical needs of communities.
On the reintroduction of the EMS Counts Act, Congressman Keller made the following statement:
“Current occupational data collection methods often overlook the fact that emergency personnel, especially in rural communities, are tasked with performing multiple duties to keep the public safe. As a result, these departments are missing out on much needed support because of incomplete data. I am proud to join Congresswoman Wild in reintroducing the EMS Counts Act to correct the chronic undercounting of first responders and ensure these brave men and women have the resources they need to respond effectively to emergencies and protect their communities.”
Congresswoman Susan 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. I’m proud to join my colleague from Pennsylvania, Rep. Fred Keller, in re-introducing this common-sense, bipartisan legislation that will help ensure our community is prepared for emergencies.”
Bruce Evans, President of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), also commented:
“NAEMT applauds Rep. Susan Wild and Rep. Fred Keller for their leadership in re-introducing the EMS Counts Act. The bill will require the Secretary of Labor to revise the Standard Occupational Classification System to more accurately count the number of Paramedics and EMTs in the United States. This legislation will improve the ability of our states and communities to effectively utilize their EMS workforce to care for the sick and injured and respond to major disasters and public health crises as well as compete for Federal funding. We look forward to working with Rep. Wild and Rep. Keller on this foundational bill to better capture the number of Paramedics and EMTs in our country. As our EMS colleagues in every community across the nation continue to be the tip of the spear on responding to COVID and all other calls, the EMS Counts Act is critical to accurately count our EMS personnel as the Government is looking at these numbers for such things as vaccine distribution for first responders. We call on Congress to pass this bill in short order.”
To view the full text of the bill, please click here.