New Law Will Protect Emergency Responders, Improve Public Safety

HARRISBURG – A bill that would help protect emergency responders and improve emergency response times has been signed into law, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

Act 83 of 2018 – formerly House Bill 1414 – includes a proposal Martin introduced along with Senator Ryan P. Aument (R-36) that would allow Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) officers to use flashing lights and sirens when using their private vehicles to respond to incidents.

SERT officers deal specifically with incidents that require special training, including kidnappings, barricaded gunmen and hostage negotiations.

Local officials estimate that the use of lights and sirens on personal vehicles could save 10 to 15 minutes in responding to incidents.

“Most officers do not have access to a police vehicle when they are off duty, so responding to incidents quickly and safely can present extraordinary challenges,” Martin said. “I am thankful that this new law will not only give emergency responders more precious time to deal with dangerous situations, but also improve the safety of the individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities.”

The legislation also included provisions for visual signals for other types of vehicles – including fire police vehicles, tow trucks, solid waste collection vehicles, and some probation officer vehicles – to improve the safety of workers and motorists.

The new law will go into effect in 60 days.

CONTACT:  Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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