Press release from the office of State Senator Johnny Nugent
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A Senate panel on local government voted unanimously this week in support of a bill allowing Indiana to call upon and assist emergency response teams in neighboring states, State Sen. Johnny Nugent (R-Lawrenceburg) said.
“Hoosier response personnel do, at times, need backup when emergency situations arise on interstates and highways close to state borders,” Nugent said. “Senate Bill 6 would allow Indiana’s first responders to call upon police, fire and medical units from neighboring states when needed. Also, it would allow our response teams to offer assistance in these other states when similar instances occur and every moment counts.”
Under Senate Bill 6, state and local units of government in Indiana can enter into agreements with units of government in neighboring states that have also passed similar legislation. If SB 6 is passed into law, Indiana will be the first Midwestern state to follow the interstate agreement model. Nugent said similar legislative initiatives will be pursued in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio and efforts to involve Kentucky are ongoing.
“The effectiveness of this legislation will increase as more states pass similar laws,” Nugent said.
Presently, some out-of-state first responders come to Indiana to assist in emergency situations or vice versa. Nugent said these individuals are certified in each state they are serving or they are exposing themselves to potential lawsuits. He said this bill stops the need for costly double certification, removes many legal concerns and keeps employment benefits in place for interstate emergency crews.
“Communities in our state are already entering into mutual-aid agreements with neighboring cities and towns,” Nugent said. “It’s important for the nearly 40 border counties — including Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio and Union counties — to receive and provide this similar benefit, allowing them to call on Ohio responders in emergency situations.”
Nugent said the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Indiana Fire Chiefs Association support this proposal.
SB 6 can now move to the full Senate for consideration.