State Rep. Terrie Wood (R-141) joined EMT Emily Close as she testified recently before the Transportation Committee on HB 6148.

This bill would require vehicles to stay at least 250 feet behind an Ambulance that is using lights and sirens. Close has been an Emergency Medical Technician for three years and her experiences served as the inspiration for Wood to introduce this measure.

"In conversations with Emily Close about her experiences as an EMT, it is clear that she is a problem solver and saw a need for this legislation," Wood said. "I was impressed by Emily's professionalism both delivering her testimony and answering questions from the committee. She has helped identify a cost free, simple way to better protect the patients and EMT's with a common sense solution."

Close's testimony explained how distracting it was to worry about potential automobile accidents when trying to save someone's life. She tries not to focus on the cars that closely tail the back of the ambulance.

"Many people forget that an ambulance is a weapon within itself. There are about 5,000 liters of compressed oxygen onboard the ambulance. It would take only one second for an ambulance driver to have to stop suddenly causing a car to come plowing into the back of the ambulance," Close said in the public hearing. "If this collision was to occur and the oxygen tanks were to explode, we are not only talking about the safety of the patient and ambulance staff being compromised, but every driver and pedestrian within a 1,000 foot radius of the explosion."

Wood explained that this bill has a lot further to go before it possibly becomes law, but she is honored to have been able to play an important part in getting the ball rolling and applauds Close for the idea of this legislation.

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