West Virginia to suspend fire department licensing requirements during pandemic

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 9:25 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It will be business as usual for for fire departments in West Virginia.

The Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Emergency Medical Services will file an order to temporarily suspend EMS licensure requirements. That order will allow fire departments to provide medical services to patients who are in need.

The suspension will continue, the news release says, for the duration of the declared state of emergency because of COVID-19.

Earlier this month WSAZ reported that fire departments were not able to perform certain services because there were questions about licensing.

However the order was rescinded the next day.

Wednesday night, the department sent out a news release that the need for licensing would be suspended. First responders have said the pandemic has emergency crews stretched thin, and they need all hands on deck to help respond to emergencies.

The press release says:

Legislative Rule 64CSR48 outlines the requirements that EMS agencies must meet to provide emergency medical services treatment. These rules set the protocols followed by DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services.

“We value and appreciate the work that our first responders perform every day,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “These dedicated workers are vital to the state’s COVID-19 response and we acknowledge their deep commitment to serving West Virginians.”

Several weeks ago, it came to the attention of DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services that some entities were not operating under the rules currently in place. “By allowing rapid response agencies to operate under an affiliation agreement, we are ensuring that the state has the complete emergency response coverage needed during the pandemic,” said Crouch. Once the State of Emergency is lifted, these agencies will have 30 days to begin the licensure application process.

It is important to note that the individuals providing the services in question are qualified and certified individuals.

“We are very dependent and thankful of our first responders throughout the state who keep us all safe and who are there for us in emergency situations,” added Crouch. “We never want to impede their efforts to perform lifesaving procedures when they are needed.”

Copyright 2020 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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