Below are some laws affecting Firefighters and other First Responders in the State of Alabama. For reference only.
IMMUNITIES & PRIVILEGES
Termination for loss of work during emergency response prohibited.
(a) As used in this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) EMERGENCY. Going to, attending to, or coming from any of the following:
a. A fire call.
b. A hazardous or toxic materials spill and cleanup.
c. Any other situation to which a volunteer fire department has been dispatched.
d. An actual medical emergency to prevent the imminent loss of life.
(2) EMPLOYER. Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to any employee.
(3) VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY WORKER. An individual who does not receive monetary compensation for his or her service as a volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, rescue squad member, volunteer deputy, or a ham radio operator conducting storm spotter operations for an emergency management association.
(b) No employer may terminate an employee who is a member of a volunteer fire department and who, in the line of emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, responds to an emergency call prior to the time the employee is due to report to work and which emergency results in a loss of time from employment. Any time lost from employment as provided in this section may be charged against the regular compensation of the employee. Prior to missing work, the employee shall attempt to contact his or her employer to notify the employer that the employee has been dispatched to an emergency. At the request of the employer, an employee losing time as provided herein shall supply the employer with a statement from the chief of the volunteer fire department stating that the employee responded to an emergency call and the time thereof.
(c) No employer may terminate an employee who is a member of an emergency medical service and who, in the line of emergency duty as an emergency medical service member, responds to an emergency call prior to the time the employee is due to report to work and which emergency results in a loss of time from employment. Any time lost from employment as provided in this section may be charged against the regular compensation of the employee. At the request of the employer, an employee losing time as provided herein shall supply the employer with a statement from the fire department or emergency medical services stating that the employee responded to an emergency call and the time thereof.
(d) Any employer who willfully and knowingly violates this section shall be required to reinstate the employee to the employee’s former position and shall be required to pay such employee all lost wages and benefits for the period between termination and reinstatement.
(e) Any action to enforce this section shall be commenced within a period of one year after the date of violation and such action shall be commenced in the circuit court of the county in which the place of employment is located.
(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from terminating an employee covered in this section for lawful reasons other than responding to an emergency call that results in loss of time from employment.
(Act 2006-428, p. 1058, §§1, 2.)
Volunteer firemen or rescue squad members entering burning buildings, etc., and attempting to preserve and protect said buildings, property therein, etc.
When any member of any organized rescue squad or volunteer nonprofit fire department, gratuitously and in good faith, enters any building, house, or structure which is burning or endangered by fire and makes efforts to preserve and protect said property and any other property contained therein or located on the premises thereof, such members shall not be liable for any civil damages for such entering or as result of any acts or omissions in rendering such efforts; nor shall such members be liable for any civil damages in rendering such efforts for their acts or omissions causing injuries to fellow volunteers or to owners of said property; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to civil damages for wanton misconduct.
(Acts 1976, No. 675, p. 925; Acts 1979, No. 79-625, p. 1107.)
(a) This section shall be known as "The Volunteer Service Act."
(b) The Legislature finds and declares that:
(1) The willingness of volunteers to offer their services has been increasingly deterred by a perception that they put personal assets at risk in the event of tort actions seeking damages arising from their activities as volunteers;
(2) The contributions of programs, activities, and services to communities is diminished and worthwhile programs, activities, and services are deterred by the unwillingness of volunteers to serve either as volunteers or as officers, directors, or trustees of nonprofit public and private organizations;
(3) The provisions of this section are intended to encourage volunteers to contribute their services for the good of their communities and at the same time provide a reasonable basis for redress of claims which may arise relating to those services.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the meaning of the terms specified shall be as follows:
(1) GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY. Any county, municipality, township, school district, chartered unit, or subdivision, governmental unit, other special district, similar entity, or any association, authority, board, commission, division, office, officer, task force, or other agency of any state;
(2) NONPROFIT CORPORATION. Any corporation which is exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. Section 501(a);
(3) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. Any organization which is exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c), as amended;
(4) VOLUNTEER. A person performing services for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a hospital, or a governmental entity without compensation, other than reimbursement for actual expenses incurred. The term includes a volunteer serving as a director, officer, trustee, or direct service volunteer.
(d) Any volunteer shall be immune from civil liability in any action on the basis of any act or omission of a volunteer resulting in damage or injury if:
(1) The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of such volunteer's official functions and duties for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, hospital, or a governmental entity; and
(2) The damage or injury was not caused by willful or wanton misconduct by such volunteer.
(e) In any suit against a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, or a hospital for civil damages based upon the negligent act or omission of a volunteer, proof of such act or omission shall be sufficient to establish the responsibility of the organization therefor under the doctrine of "respondeat superior," notwithstanding the immunity granted to the volunteer with respect to any act or omission included under subsection (d).
(Acts 1991, No. 91-439, p. 781, §§1-4; Acts 1993, No. 93-614, p. 1006, §1.)
Persons rendering emergency care etc., at scene of accident, etc.
(a) When any doctor of medicine or dentistry, nurse, member of any organized rescue squad, member of any police or fire department, member of any organized volunteer fire department, Alabama-licensed emergency medical technician, intern, or resident practicing in an Alabama hospital with training programs approved by the American Medical Association, Alabama state trooper, medical aidman functioning as a part of the military assistance to safety and traffic program, chiropractor, or public education employee gratuitously and in good faith, renders first aid or emergency care at the scene of an accident, casualty, or disaster to a person injured therein, he or she shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of his or her acts or omissions in rendering first aid or emergency care, nor shall he or she be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the injured person.
(b) Any member of the crew of a helicopter which is used in the performance of military assistance to safety and traffic programs and is engaged in the performance of emergency medical service acts shall be exempt from personal liability for any property damages caused by helicopter downwash or by persons disembarking from the helicopter.
(c) When any physician gratuitously advises medical personnel at the scene of an emergency episode by direct voice contact, to render medical assistance based upon information received by voice or biotelemetry equipment, the actions ordered taken by the physician to sustain life or reduce disability shall not be considered liable when the actions are within the established medical procedures.
(d) Any person who is qualified by a federal or state agency to perform mine rescue planning and recovery operations, including mine rescue instructors and mine rescue team members, and any person designated by an operator furnishing a mine rescue team to supervise, assist in planning or provide service thereto, who, in good faith, performs or fails to perform any act or service in connection with mine rescue planning and recovery operations shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to exempt from liability any person responsible for an overall mine rescue operation, including an operator of an affected facility and any person assuming responsibility therefor under federal or state statutes or regulations.
(e) A person or entity, who in good faith and without compensation renders emergency care or treatment to a person suffering or appearing to suffer from cardiac arrest, which may include the use of an automated external defibrillator, shall be immune from civil liability for any personal injury as a result of care or treatment or as a result of any act or failure to act in providing or arranging further medical treatment where the person acts as an ordinary prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances, except damages that may result from the gross negligence of the person rendering emergency care. This immunity shall extend to the licensed physician or medical authority who is involved in automated external defibrillator site placement, the person who provides training in CPR and the use of the automated external defibrillator, and the person or entity responsible for the site where the automated external defibrillator is located. This subsection specifically excludes from the provision of immunity any designers, manufacturers, or sellers of automated external defibrillators for any claims that may be brought against such entities based upon current Alabama law.
(f) Any licensed engineer, licensed architect, licensed surveyor, licensed contractor, licensed subcontractor, or other individual working under the direct supervision of the licensed individual who participates in emergency response activities under the direction of, or in connection with, a community emergency response team, county emergency management agency, the state emergency management agency, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts, services, or omissions provided without compensation, in such capacity if the individual acts as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. The immunity provided in this subsection shall apply to any acts, services, or omissions provided within 30 days after declaration of the emergency.
(Acts 1966, Ex. Sess., No. 253, p. 377; Acts 1975, No. 1233, p. 2594; Acts 1981, No. 81-804, p. 1427; Acts 1987, No. 87-390, p. 558, §1; Acts 1993, No. 93-373, §1; Act 99-370, p. 595, §3; Act 2006-104, p. 134, §1.)
Immunity of persons assisting or advising as to mitigation of effects of discharge of hazardous materials; nonimmunity of certain persons.
(a) As used in this section, the following words and terms shall have meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(1) DISCHARGE. Includes leakage, seepage, or other release.
(2) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. Includes all materials and substances which are now or hereafter designated or defined as hazardous by any state or federal law or by the regulations of any state or federal government agency.
(3) PERSON. Includes any qualified individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other entity. A qualified individual is one who is trained in the handling of hazardous materials.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no person who provides assistance or advice in mitigating or attempting to mitigate the effects of an actual or threatened discharge of hazardous materials, or in preventing, cleaning up, or disposing of, or in attempting to prevent, clean up or dispose of any such discharge, shall be subject to civil liabilities or penalties of any type.
(c) The immunities provided in subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to any person:
(1) Whose act or omission proximately caused, in whole or in part, the original actual or threatening discharge, or
(2) Who receives compensation other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for its services in rendering such assistance or advice.
(d) Nothing in subsection (b) of this section shall be construed to limit or otherwise affect the liability of any person for damages resulting from such person's gross negligence, or from such person's reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct.
(e) The provisions of this section shall be construed in pari materia with all laws or parts of laws providing protection from civil liability, or granting immunity, for persons performing other acts of public assistance or rescue.
(Acts 1986, No. 86-539, p. 1050.)
Immunity of persons responding to oil spills.
(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Alabama Act Regarding Liability for Persons Responding to Oil Spills.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) DAMAGES. Damages of any kind for which liability may exist under the laws of this state resulting from, arising out of, or related to the discharge, or threatened discharge of oil.
(2) DISCHARGE. Any emission (other than natural seepage), intentional or unintentional, and includes, but is not limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping.
(3) FEDERAL ON-SCENE COORDINATOR. The federal official predesignated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate and direct federal responses under subpart D of the National Contingency Plan, or the official designated by the lead agency to coordinate and direct removal under subpart E, of the National Contingency Plan.
(4) NATIONAL CONTINGENCY PLAN. The National Contingency Plan prepared and published under Section 311(d) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [33 U.S.C. 1321(d)], as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-380, 104 Stat. 484 (1990).
(5) OIL. Oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil.
(6) PERSON. An individual, corporation, partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body.
(7) REMOVAL COSTS. The costs of removal that are incurred after a discharge of oil has occurred or, in any case in which there is a substantial threat of a discharge of oil, the costs to prevent, minimize, or mitigate oil pollution from such an incident.
(8) RESPONSIBLE PARTY.
a. Vessels. In the case of a vessel, any person owning, operating, or demise chartering the vessel.
b. Onshore facilities. In the case of an onshore facility (other than a pipeline), any person owning or operating the facility, except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as owner, transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.
c. Offshore facilities. In the case of an offshore facility (other than a pipeline or a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), the lessee or permittee of the area in which the facility is located or the holder of a right of use and easement granted under applicable state law or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1301-1356) for the area in which the facility is located (if the holder is a different person than the lessee or permittee), except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as owner, transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.
d. Deepwater ports. In the case of a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501-1524), the licensee.
e. Pipelines. In the case of a pipeline, any person owning or operating the pipeline.
f. Abandonment. In the case of an abandoned vessel, onshore facility, deepwater port, pipeline, or offshore facility, the persons who would have been responsible parties immediately prior to the abandonment of the vessel or facility.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person is not liable for removal costs or damages which result from actions taken or omitted to be taken in the course of rendering care, assistance, or advice consistent with the National Contingency Plan or as otherwise directed by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator or by any state official with responsibility for oil spill response.
(2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not apply:
a. to a responsible party;
b. with respect to personal injury or wrongful death; or
c. if the person is grossly negligent or engages in wanton or willful misconduct.
(3) A responsible party is liable for any removal costs and damages that another person is relieved of under subdivision (1).
(4) Nothing in this section affects the liability of a responsible party for oil spill response under state law.
(Acts 1991, No. 91-470, p. 852, §§1-3.)
Use of automated external defibrillator.
(a) The Legislature of the State of Alabama finds the following:
(1) Early defibrillation may sustain the life and temporarily stabilize a person in cardiac arrest, thus helping to preserve the Alabama family.
(2) The American Heart Association estimates that more than 350,000 Americans die each year from out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest, and 20,000 deaths may be prevented each year if automated external defibrillators were more widely available.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that an automated external defibrillator may be used for the purpose of saving the life of another person in cardiac arrest.
(c) As used in Section 6-5-332, the term "automated external defibrillator" or "AED" means a medical device heart monitor and defibrillator that meets all of the following specifications:
(1) Has received approval of its pre-market notification filed pursuant to Section 360 (k), Title 21 of the United States Code from the United States Food and Drug Administration.
(2) Is capable of recognizing the presence or absence of ventricular fibrillation or rapid ventricular tachycardia and is capable of determining, without intervention by an operator, whether defibrillation should be performed.
(3) Upon determining that defibrillation should be performed, automatically charges and requests delivery of an electrical impulse through the chest wall and to an individual's heart.
(d) A person or entity that acquires an AED shall ensure all of the following:
(1) That expected defibrillator users receive appropriate training in an American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or other nationally recognized cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course and AED, or an equivalent nationally recognized course.
(2) That the defibrillator is maintained and tested according to the manufacturer's operational guidelines.
(3) That there is involvement of a licensed physician or medical authority in the site's AED program to ensure compliance with training, notification, and maintenance.
(4) That any person who renders emergency care or treatment of a person in cardiac arrest by using an AED activates the emergency medical services system as soon as possible.
(5) That each manufacturer, wholesale supplier, or retailer of an AED notifies purchasers of AED's intended for use in the State of Alabama of the requirements of this section.
(e) A person or entity who acquires an automated external defibrillator shall notify the local emergency communications center or dispatch center of the existing location and type of AED.
(f) This section shall not apply to an individual using an AED in an emergency setting if that individual is acting as a good samaritan pursuant to Section 6-5-332.
(Act 99-370, p. 595, §§1, 2.)
Violations; good Samaritan provisions; scope of privilege; control of emergency scene; penalties.
(a) It shall be a Class A misdemeanor for any person, firm, company, corporation, organization, facility, or agency to do any of the following:
(1) Deliberately hinder, obstruct, or interfere with an officer, inspector, or duly authorized agent of the board while in the performance of official duties.
(2) Deliberately hinder, obstruct, or interfere with any physician, licensed nurse, licensed EMSP, or emergency personnel exempt from licensure under the provisions of this article while that person is providing emergency care to a third person or while that person is assisting at the scene of an emergency, directing traffic at the scene of an emergency, or managing or helping to manage the scene of an emergency.
(3) Violate subsection (c) or (d) of this section.
(4) Offer, provide, or perform, without a license or certificate to do so, an emergency medical service or other function which, under the provisions of this article or the rules adopted pursuant thereto, may not be performed without a license or certificate issued by the Board of Health. No person shall be subject to criminal liability pursuant to this section in the event he or she renders first aid or emergency care at the scene of an injury caused by a motor vehicle crash or by some other incident, or at the scene of a mass casualty or disaster if:
a. The first aid or emergency care is rendered gratuitously and in good faith; and
b. The first aid or emergency care is not rendered in the course of a business, program, or system which regularly engages in the provision of emergency medical care.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to repeal, abridge, or modify Section 6-5-332 or any other good Samaritan statute.
(c) No person shall regularly engage in providing emergency medical care at the scene of emergencies unless he or she is licensed as EMSP as defined in this article, or unless he or she is exempted from licensure pursuant to the provisions of this article. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit any physician or nurse licensed in Alabama from performing any act within his or her scope of practice. No person shall hold himself or herself out to be EMSP, unless he or she is licensed as such as defined in this chapter. EMSP licensed in other jurisdictions may identify themselves as holding such licensure.
(d) The board shall by rule establish the scope of privilege for each level of EMSP licensure. No person shall exceed the scope of privilege granted to his or her level of licensure.
(e) Control of an emergency scene may be taken by EMSP if the personnel arrive at the scene of an emergency prior to the arrival of law enforcement personnel, and if managing the emergency scene will not interfere with other emergency medical care duties. Emergency scene control shall include the authority to direct traffic. A driver of a motor vehicle entering an emergency scene or entering a roadway adjacent to an emergency scene shall use caution, shall maintain proper control of the motor vehicle, and shall obey the directions of law enforcement personnel and emergency personnel at the scene. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a violation.
(f) The board may, following the contested case provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, suspend or revoke the license or certificate of EMSP at any level, or a provider service, or it may refuse to grant a license or certificate to any person or entity at any time that any of the following is determined with respect to the holder or applicant:
(1) Does not meet or no longer meets the prescribed qualifications.
(2) Is guilty of misconduct as defined by the board's rules or otherwise commits a violation of this act or any rules promulgated thereunder.
(3) Has failed to maintain the required level of continuing education units or any equivalent therefor defined in the board's rules.
(4) Has provided care to a patient or patients under his or her care which falls short of the standard of care which ordinarily would be expected to be provided by similarly situated EMSP in Alabama, and has thereby jeopardized the life, health, or safety of a patient or patients.
(5) Has sexually or physically abused a patient under his or her care.
(6) Has submitted a license or test application, a report of continuing education requirements, a run report, a patient care record, EMSP student record, clinical rotation record, intent to train form, self-study document, fluid and drug application, physician medication order form, or any other document which is material to the duties and qualifications of EMSP or those of a student in an EMSP training program and which is fraudulent or knowingly false in any respect.
(7) Has committed fraud in the performance of his or her duties or in connection with any matter related to emergency medical services.
(8) Has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime in which the victim is an EMSP provider service or an EMS patient, unless the board determines that the fact of the conviction would not likely interfere with the performance of EMS duties.
(9) Has performed any act requiring licensure or certification under state EMS statutes, without possession of the requisite licensure or certification.
(10) Has performed any act which exceeds the scope of license or privilege granted to the holder.
(Acts 1971, No. 1590, p. 2717, §5; Acts 1995, No. 95-276, p. 488, §1; Act 2010-584, p. 1304, §1.)