State Emergency Responder Law Delayed

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The Mississippi House and Senate agreed Friday to delay by two years a new law that required certification of emergency first responders. The law was scheduled to take effect July 1.

Many county emergency officials have expressed concerns that the deadline to certify the first responders is impossible to meet. It will now take effect July 1, 2004

First responders are usually volunteers who received basic training to reform initial assessments and medical care at emergency scenes.

Under the law, first responders must be certified by the Health Department's division of Emergency Medical Services and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Officials say there are no state guidelines in place, no laws to enforce and, at best, it will be October before the guidelines are written.