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State by State: August 2019

FLORIDA: New Law Allows Medics to Carry Firearms

Florida House Bill 487, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis June 7, gives paramedics and physicians responding to high-risk situations the ability to carry firearms. The statute states that while accompanying either a police SWAT or special-response unit, tactical medical professionals may carry firearms and have no duty to retreat when defending themselves or others from harm. Participants must be lawfully able to possess firearms and complete firearms safety and tactical training.

MINNESOTA: Pilot, Nurse Killed in Air-Medical Crash

A North Memorial Health helicopter on approach to Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport crashed June 28, killing the pilot and a nurse on board. The pilot and nurse were pronounced dead at the scene. A third crew member was injured and taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center, according to a statement by North Memorial. Conditions were foggy when the helicopter went down inside a fenced area at the airport, said airport director Steve Wright. No patients were being transported at the time, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

NEW JERSEY: Paramedics Approved to Administer Buprenorphine

New Jersey’s health commissioner signed an executive order June 24 that would allow state paramedics to dispense buprenorphine to overdose victims to ease withdrawal symptoms. “We’re taking this step to bring something that would, hopefully, allow a patient to be free of withdrawal symptoms, be clear-headed enough to go to the emergency room, and proceed with recovery care from there,” said State Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal. Agencies require approval from their medical director before adding the medication to their formularies. 

NEVADA: More Medics at Events Under New Vegas Plan 

The Las Vegas Police Department calls for several new measures to increase public safety in a lengthy report on the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting. Among the steps the report calls for are stronger interagency coordination, removing first responders’ reflective vests, and increasing the number of paramedics and trauma kits at large events, according to the New York Daily News. The October 2017 shooting killed 58 and injured 869. Previous reports on the response had documented shortcomings in communication and preparedness, but the latest also recommends some more than 90 fixes. 


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