SURFSIDE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside Monday, at which time he signed a new law, HB 805, supporting volunteer ambulance services in the state and country.
Hatzalah of South Florida is the first -- and for the time being – only private volunteer faith-based emergency response team in Florida.
The non-profit emergency response team is located throughout Jewish neighborhoods and is available whenever someone calls for their help.
“Our mission is to improve medical outcomes and save lives by augmenting existing emergency medical services in South Florida with community-based state-certified EMT volunteer responders,” a statement on the organization’s website reads.
According to the website, the organization “operates under the supervision of a Medical Director and Medical Advisory Board and the guidance of a Rabbinical Board.”
“Today with the stroke of the governor’s pen, countless lives will be saved,” Hatzalah’s director said during Monday’s news conference.
The governor said Hatzalah “operates as a free, courtesy transport service.”
“In South Florida, they have a fleet of vehicles, communications networks and trained emergency medicine professionals to provide volunteer ambulance services, however current Florida law did not recognize an ambulance providing volunteer services as an authorized emergency vehicle,” the governor said. “So this bill that I’ll sign today ensures faith-based volunteer first responder services like Hatzalah can operate in our state.”
DeSantis also signed a second bill, HB 529, Monday that will provide public school students in Kindergarten through 12th grade a moment of silence in schools to “reflect and pray” as they see fit. He said this will protect the religious freedom of all those who attend public schools in Florida.