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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-02-02

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 361, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act for two reasons.

    First, the bill will save lives. Second, the legislation is necessary to support the vital work of first responders in the event of a biological and chemical terrorists attack or incident.

    The legislation provides for the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits, and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders, their families, and immediate victims from a chemical or biological event.

    The Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act will amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for: enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities.

    This legislation ensures that first responders have necessary medicines and treatments to protect themselves, their families and those within their vicinity immediately should a biological and chemical terrorist attack occur.

    In short, first responders will not be able to do the work of saving lives if they fall victim to an attack or are distracted by worry regarding how their family may be fairing during a biological or chemical attack should one occur.

    First responders often include law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical personnel.

    The city of Houston covers over a 1000 square mile region in Southeast Texas. It has an evening population of nearly two million people and over three million during the day when commuters are in the city.

    There are 103 Fire Stations that serve the city of Houston with most offering ambulance or medic support, but there is only one station Number 22 that Specializes in Hazardous Material.

    In the city of Houston one out of every ten citizens use Emergency Management Services (EMS) and within a year there are over 200,000 EMS incidents involving over 225,000 patients or potential patients.

    EMS response services have 88 City of Houston EMS vehicles, with just under fifty percent staffed by two paramedics and can provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) to patients.

    These consist of 15 ALS Squads, and 22 ALS transport units with eight functioning in a ``Dual'' capacity as both Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support (BLS).

    The remaining fifty-one transport units are Basic Life Support (BLS), and staffed by two Emergency Medical Technicians.

    Law enforcement agencies that serve the city of Houston include the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff's Department, Harris County Constables, Port of Houston Authority Police and Corrections Officers.

    Because of the nature of chemical or biological terrorist attacks mass casualties are the objective and the impressive resources of our nation's 4th largest city would likely be overwhelmed immediately should an attack occur it is important to provide them with the resources provided by this legislation.

    The prepositioning of resources in the form of medicines that can support pulmonary respiratory function or arrest neurological damage as a result of poisoning lives can be saved that could otherwise be lost. This bill can reduce deaths and give victims the greatest chance for survival and recovery.

    Emergency responders because of this bill would have treatments in the communities where they serve and live to help neighbors, co- workers, and people who are immediate need to live saving help.

    As a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I am mindful of the need for our first responders to be prepared and well trained to manage a wide range of potential threats both conventional and unconventional.

    This bill offers one more resource that will be available to first responders to do the work they have dedicated their lives to doing-- saving lives.

    I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 361 the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act for two reasons.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Carter) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 361.

    The question was taken.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

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