Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Flash 90

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that will ensure Hatzalah and other volunteer ambulance services can operate in the state.

DeSantis signed House Bill 804, the Volunteer Ambulance Bill, at a press conference at The Shul of Bal Harbour Synagogue in Surfside, Florida, just north of Miami Beach.

The law will allow volunteer first responder organizations to operate as an official ambulance services, with flashing lights and sirens when responding to calls.

Currently, the state does not allow volunteer ambulance services to act as authorized emergency vehicles, including using lights and sirens.

Hatzalah of South Florida is one of the volunteer EMS groups that will be served by the bill.

Baruch Sandhaus, Hatzalah’s CEO, told News 6 Orlando that the nonprofit organization’s fleet of ambulances has been in operation in South Florida for 13 years, responding to over 13,000 calls.

In the past, while operating as a first responder organization, “we have been limited in what we were able to do to provide patient care,” he said.

In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Hatzalah has 70 volunteer paramedics and first responders. They answer between 30 to 150 emergency calls per week, operations manager Zalman Cohen told the Miami Herald.

Nearly 300 people were in attendance as DeSantis signed the bill and a second bill that will mandate a “moment of silence” at the beginning of the day in schools, reported the Herald.

HB 804, the Moment of Silence in Public Schools Bill, will allow two minutes of silence for children to meditate or pray at the beginning of class, regardless of their religious faith.