Oklahoma Enacts Law to Allow EMS Transport on Fire Apparatus in Emergencies

The State of Oklahoma has amended the statutes governing the delivery of emergency medical services to allow the transport of patients on emergency vehicles that are not ambulances when approved by medical control. The law is a direct response to a difficult case out of the Oklahoma City Fire Department that resulted in discipline to a company officer for transporting a child on an engine in 2020.

Prior to the new law, patients could only be transported on licensed ambulances. The OKCFD case involved a delayed response by a private ambulance, and a decision to transport the child on Christmas Eve on an engine. A video on that case is provided below for context. The law at time prohibited such action. Here is the prior language:

“Certified emergency medical response agency” means an organization of any type certified by the Department to provide emergency medical care, but not transport.

OKCFD was a certified emergency medical response agency under the act. Here is the new language that was signed into law on Monday by Governor J. Kevin Stitt:

Certified emergency medical response agency” means an organization of any type certified by the Department to provide emergency medical care, and limited transport in an emergency vehicle as defined in Section 1-103 of Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes.  A certified emergency medical response agency shall only provide transport upon approval by the appropriate online medical control at the time of transport.

The law passed the Oklahoma House by 80-1 margin, and passed the Senate unanimously 44-0. It was supported by the Oklahoma City Fire Department and the Edmond Fire Department.

Here is a copy of the law law in its entirety:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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