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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 19, 2019 12:11 PM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis and Rep. Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Providing for Training Programs for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel and Firefighters to Better Assist Those with Mental Illness or Intellectual Disabilities
During an emergency, which is an already chaotic and stressful situation, emergency personnel may not be aware that an individual has a condition that would make the rendering of emergency services even more difficult. Individuals who have a mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism may respond differently or be disruptive as a result of certain stimuli or medical examinations.

According to the organization, Autism Speaks, EMS personnel and firefighters are often the first people on the scene during an emergency. I believe that providing proper training to EMS personnel and firefighters to deal with these situations would be of benefit to them and those they serve. Therefore, I will be introducing legislation that would amend Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to include the following in training programs for EMS personnel and firefighters:
  • The recognition of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and autism.

  • The proper techniques for interacting with individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and autism during an emergency situation.

  • The proper techniques for de-escalating certain situations involving individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and autism.

  • Instruction relative to the services that are available to these individuals in the Commonwealth.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.