An amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by voice vote.
The amendment requires the National Guard to complete a capability assessment of the medical equipment its domestic Humvee ambulances should be required to carry in federal and state missions. Right now, these ambulances have no requirement to carry cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment, limiting their capability to adequately treat a wide range of injuries in an emergency situation.
"For 375 years the National Guard has been our first line of defense and disaster response," said Buerkle "Congress has a duty to provide our Guardmembers with best tools available to carry out their difficult missions. That is what this amendment does. It ensures our National Guard medics will have the appropriate resources in their ambulances to respond to a variety of emergency situations."
Specifically, the amendment will require the National Guard Bureau to reexamine whether or not cardiac monitoring and resuscitation is required and necessary for the Guard to fulfill its significant responsibilities. Should the capability assessment find that the equipment is necessary, under this amendment the Army may use funds from this section to retrofit and install this equipment in domestic Humvee ambulances currently in use by the National Guard.
"This is a common sense issue," Congresswoman Bonamici said on the House floor. "The Guardsmen and women operating ambulances should be provided the best capability available to save lives in the event of an emergency. This amendment helps ensure that these ambulances are ready to respond to terrorist attacks, homeland security emergencies, natural disasters, and whatever else comes their way."