First responders exposed to potential disease will soon get some peace of mind thanks to Kelowna Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick's private member's bill.
The provincial government announced Thursday that the Emergency Intervention Disclosure Act will come into effect March 2 after Letnick first introduced it in May 2011.
The act forces a victim or suspect to give a blood sample, if they won't give it voluntarily, in the case their blood or other bodily substances comes into contact with a first responder, such as a paramedic, firefighter or police officer.
"When somebody asks someone else to disclose whether or not they have a communicable disease, they usually come forward and give that information on a voluntary basis," said Letnick while lobbying for the bill after being approached by firefighters to introduce it.
"It's very rare that the bill or law has to be used."
First responders take as many precautions as they can so they don't come into contact with the blood or bodily substances of those they are dealing with.
However, in the rare cases where that
contact does happen, and then the even rarer cases that the other person doesn't want to disclose their communicable disease, the Emergency Intervention Disclosure Act will kick in to force a blood test.
Blood will be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
If positive for any of those diseases, first responders can immediately be put on a concoction of drugs to prevent contraction.