Senate Approves Disaster Response Improvement Measure

  • 01/24/2014
  • Reporters Desk


SACRAMENTO – With the goal of improved delivery of emergency medical equipment in Los Angeles County, the California Senate approved measure to improve disaster responses, Jan. 23, on a unanimous, bipartisan vote.

Under existing law, hospitals cannot move emergency equipment, trailers, personnel, medications and related items to an impacted healthcare facility or to an emergency scene without a police escort. Local law enforcement officials acknowledge, however, that they may be unavailable to provide escorts during a major incident because they may be responding to the disaster itself.

Senate Bill 573 would help 13 county hospitals designated as Disaster Resource Centers that have recently added emergency response equipment such as trailers and vehicles to deliver emergency health care when deployed by the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency. The medical and pharmaceutical assets from each Disaster Resource Center can treat dozens to hundreds of patients, including some pharmaceutical antidotes that are solely available through Disaster Resource Center stockpiles.

If signed into law, SB 573 would amend the state vehicle code to allow the commissioner of the California Highway Patrol issue Disaster Resource Centers a permit that allows their vehicles to be equipped with lights, sirens and special markings.

SB 573 is supported by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, (sponsor); the California Hospital Association; the California Hospital Medical Center; Centinela Hospital Medical Center; the City of Beverly Hills; the City of West Hollywood; the Culver City Fire Department; HCH at Brotman Medical Center; Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital;

LAC+USC Medical Center; Marina Del Rey Hospital; PIH Health Hospital; Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center; St. Mary Medical Center Disaster Resource Center; the Beverly Hills Fire Department; the Beverly Hills Police Department; and UCLA Medical Center.

There is no opposition. SB 573 now moves to the Assembly for review. No date has yet been set.

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