WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
House Bill 4123
By Delegates Maynard, Staggers, Evans, Higginbotham, Lavender-Bowe, Walker, Caputo, S. Brown, Estep-Burton and Swartzmiller
[Passed March 7, 2020; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §15-5-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §24-6-2 and §24-6-5 of said code, all relating to emergency telecommunication; defining terms; requiring each county answering point be operated constantly by an emergency telecommunicator; permitting directors of county emergency phone systems to obtain mobile phone emergency lines and enter into service provider contracts; establishing payment of emergency mobile phone contracts; and requiring a report.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
CHAPTER 15. PUBLIC SAFETY.
ARTICLE 5. DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.
As used in this article:
“Board” means the West Virginia Disaster Recovery Board created by this article;
“Code” means the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended;
“Community facilities” means a specific work, or improvement within this state or a specific item of equipment or tangible personal property owned or operated by any political subdivision or nonprofit corporation and used within this state to provide any essential service to the general public;
“Disaster” means the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or terrorist or man-made cause, including weapons of mass destruction, fire, flood, earthquake, wind, snow, storm, chemical or oil spill or other water or soil contamination, epidemic, air contamination, blight, drought, infestation or other public calamity requiring emergency action;
“Disaster recovery activities” means activities undertaken prior to, during or following a disaster to provide, or to participate in the provision of, emergency services, temporary housing, residential housing, essential business activities, and community facilities;
“Emergency services” means the preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, other than functions for which military forces are primarily responsible, to protect, respond, and recover, to prevent, detect, deter, and mitigate, to minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from disasters or other event caused by flooding, terrorism, enemy attack, sabotage, or other natural or other man-made causes. These functions include, without limitation, firefighting services, police services, medical and health services, communications, emergency telecommunications, radiological, chemical, and other special weapons defense, evacuation of persons from stricken areas, emergency welfare services, emergency transportation, existing or properly assigned functions of plant protection, temporary restoration of public utility services and other functions related to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state, together with all other activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of these functions. Disaster includes the imminent threat of disaster as well as its occurrence and any power or authority exercisable on account of a disaster that may be exercised during the period when there is an imminent threat;
“Essential business activities” means a specific work or improvement within this state or a specific item of equipment or tangible personal property used within this state by any person to provide any essential goods or service determined by the authority to be necessary for recovery from a disaster;
“Local organization for emergency services” means an organization created in accordance with the provisions of this article by state or local authority to perform local emergency services function;
“Mobile support unit” means an organization for emergency services created in accordance with the provisions of this article by state or local authority to be dispatched by the Governor to supplement local organizations for emergency services in a stricken area;
“Person” means any individual, corporation, voluntary organization or entity, partnership, firm, or other association, organization, or entity organized or existing under the laws of this or any other state or country;
“Political subdivision” means any county or municipal corporation in this state;
“Recovery fund” means the West Virginia Disaster Recovery Trust Fund created by this article;
“Residential housing” means a specific work or improvement within this state undertaken primarily to provide dwelling accommodations, including the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of land, buildings and improvements thereto, for residential housing, including, but not limited to, facilities for temporary housing and emergency housing, and any other nonhousing facilities that are incidental or appurtenant thereto;
“Secretary” means the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety; and
“Temporary housing” means a specific work or improvement within this state undertaken primarily to provide dwelling accommodations, including the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of land, buildings and improvements thereto, for temporary residential shelters or housing for victims of a disaster and such other nonhousing facilities that are incidental or appurtenant thereto.
CHAPTER 24. PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.
ARTICLE 6. LOCAL EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM.
As used in this article, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:
“Commercial mobile radio service provider” or “CMRS provider” means cellular licensees, broadband personal communications services (PCS) licensees and specialized mobile radio (SMR) providers, as those terms are defined by the Federal Communications Commission, which offer on a post-paid or prepaid basis or via a combination of those two methods, real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network and includes resellers of any commercial mobile radio service.
“County answering point” means a facility to which enhanced emergency telephone system calls for a county are initially routed for response and where county personnel respond to specific requests for emergency service by directly dispatching the appropriate emergency service provider, relaying a message to the appropriate provider or transferring the call to the appropriate provider.
“Emergency services organization” means the organization established under article five, chapter fifteen of this code.
“Emergency service provider” means any emergency services organization or public safety unit.
“Emergency telecommunicator” means a professional telecommunicator meeting the training requirements set forth in §24-6-5 and is a first responder tasked with the gathering of information related to medical emergencies, the provision of assistance and instructions by voice, prior to the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS), and the dispatching and support of EMS resources responding to an emergency call.
“Emergency telephone system” means a telephone system which through normal telephone service facilities automatically connects a person dialing the primary emergency telephone number to an established public agency answering point, but does not include an enhanced emergency telephone system.
“Enhanced emergency telephone system” means a telephone system which automatically connects the person dialing the primary emergency number to the county answering point and in which the telephone network system automatically provides to personnel receiving the call, immediately on answering the call, information on the location and the telephone number from which the call is being made and, upon direction from the personnel receiving the call, routes or dispatches the call by telephone, radio or any other appropriate means of communication to emergency service providers that serve the location from which the call is made.
“Prepaid wireless calling service” means prepaid wireless calling service as defined in section two, article fifteen, chapter eleven of this code.
“Public agency” means the state and any municipality, county, public district or public authority which provides or has authority to provide firefighting, police, ambulance, medical, rescue or other emergency services.
“Public safety unit” means a functional division of a public agency which provides firefighting, police, medical, rescue or other emergency services.
“Telephone company” means any public utility and any CMRS provider which is engaged in the provision of telephone service whether primarily by means of wire or wireless facilities.
“Comprehensive plan” means a plan pertaining to the installing, modifying or replacing of telephone switching equipment; a telephone utility's response in a timely manner to requests for emergency telephone service by a public agency; a telephone utility's responsibility to report to the Public Service Commission; charges and tariffs for the services and facilities provided by a telephone utility; and access to an emergency telephone system by emergency service organizations.
“Technical and operational standards” means those standards of telephone equipment and processes necessary for the implementation of the comprehensive plan as defined in subdivision (11) of this subsection.
§24-6-5. Enhanced emergency telephone system requirements.
(a) An enhanced emergency telephone system, at a minimum, shall provide that:
(1) All the territory in the county, including every municipal corporation in the county, which is served by telephone company central office equipment that will permit such a system to be established shall be included in the system: Provided, That if a portion of the county or a portion of a municipal corporation within the county is already being served by an enhanced emergency telephone system, that portion of the county or municipality may be excluded from the county enhanced emergency telephone system;
(2) Every emergency service provider that provides emergency service within the territory of a county participate in the system;
(3) Each county answering point be operated constantly by an emergency telecommunicator;
(4) Each emergency service provider participating in the system maintain a telephone number in addition to the one provided in the system; and
(5) If the county answering point personnel reasonably determine that a call is not an emergency, the personnel provide the caller with the number of the appropriate emergency service provider.
(b) To the extent possible, enhanced emergency telephone systems shall be centralized.
(c) In developing an enhanced emergency telephone system, a county commission or the West Virginia State Police shall seek the advice of both the telephone companies providing local exchange service within the county and the local emergency providers.
(d) As a condition of employment, a person employed as the director of an emergency dispatch center who dispatches emergency calls or supervises the dispatching of emergency call takers is subject to an investigation of his or her character and background. This investigation shall include, at a minimum, a criminal background check conducted by the State Police at its expense. A felony conviction shall preclude a person from holding any of these positions.
(e) As a condition of continued employment, persons employed to dispatch emergency calls in county emergency dispatch centers shall successfully complete:
(1) A 40-hour nationally recognized training course for dispatchers within one year of the date of their employment;
(2) A nationally recognized training course in emergency cardiovascular care for telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation selected by the medical director of an emergency medical dispatch center. This training course shall incorporate protocols for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation and continuing education, as appropriate. The training requirements of this subdivision are effective not later than July 1, 2020. Persons employed subsequent to July 1, 2019, shall complete the training within one year of the date of employment; and
(3) An additional nationally recognized emergency medical dispatch course or an emergency medical dispatch course approved by the Office of Emergency Medical Services within one year of the date of employment.
(f) The director of each county emergency dispatch center shall develop policies and procedures to establish a protocol for dispatching emergency medical calls implementing a nationally recognized emergency medical dispatch program, or an emergency medical dispatch program approved by the Office of Emergency Medical Services. If a county emergency dispatch center uses a one-button transfer system, it may continue to use this system if the county emergency dispatch center establishes policies and procedures requiring the agency to whom the call is transferred to remain on the call until a first responder arrives.
(g) Each county or municipality shall appoint for each answering point an enhanced emergency telephone system advisory board consisting of at least six members to monitor the operation of the system. The board shall be appointed by the county or municipality and shall include at least one member from affected:
(1) Fire service providers;
(2) Law-enforcement providers;
(3) Emergency medical providers;
(4) Emergency services providers participating in the system; and
(5) Counties or municipalities.
(6) The director of the county or municipal enhanced telephone system shall serve as an ex officio member of the advisory board.
(h) All appointments to the advisory board shall be for terms of three years, except that an appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the unexpired term. All members shall serve without compensation. The board shall adopt any policies, rules, and regulations necessary for its own guidance. The board shall meet monthly or quarterly. The board may make recommendations to the county or municipality concerning the operation of the system.
(i) The establishment of multijurisdictional or regional systems, or multijurisdictional or regional agreements for the establishment of enhanced emergency telephone systems, and any system established pursuant to this article may include the territory of more than one public agency, or may include only a portion of the territory of a public agency.
(j) All public safety answering points that answer calls for emergency medical conditions shall, in the appropriate circumstances, provide telephonic assistance in administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation directly or transfer calls to a call center to provide assistance in administering telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
(k) The director of the county or municipal enhanced telephone system shall have the authority to enter into mobile-phone contracts with service providers for the purpose of obtaining a mobile-phone emergency line for the county or municipality. The director must solicit bids for mobile-phone contracts from mobile-phone service providers in this state. The director may award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, or designate in writing, why any other bidder other than the lowest responsible bidder was awarded a contract. The director may obtain as many lines as reasonably needed for emergencies where landlines are unavailable to serve the county or municipality. The director and phone service provider should collaborate to obtain the following:
(1) The emergency mobile-phone number may be the county prefix and end in 0911, as feasible for the phone service provider;
(2) The emergency mobile-phone service provider should permit roll-over service to allow multiple callers to dial into the amount of lines purchased; and
(3) The emergency mobile-phone service provider should provide the lowest possible cost.
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit or discourage in any way the establishment of multijurisdictional or regional systems, or multijurisdictional or regional agreements for the establishment of emergency mobile-telephone systems. This section shall be effective July 1, 2020.
(l) Emergency mobile-phone contracts entered into pursuant to subsection (j) of this section may be paid from funds received by the Public Service Commission relating to 911 fees remitted to the county or by other county funds. A report of the funds expended for subsection (j) of this section shall be presented to the interim Joint Committee on Government Organization no later than November 30, 2020, to ensure the fiscal responsibility and efficacy of this section.
The Joint Committee on Enrolled Bills hereby certifies that the foregoing bill is correctly enrolled.
Chairman, House Committee
Chairman, Senate Committee
Originating in the House.
In effect ninety days from passage.
Clerk of the House of Delegates
Clerk of the Senate
Speaker of the House of Delegates
President of the Senate
The within ................................................... this the...........................................
day of ..........................................................................................................., 2020.