Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed a bill creating a state certification for emergency medical responders (EMRs).

Senate Bill 48 adds another rung to the emergency medical services (EMS) career ladder with the establishment of EMR certification, requiring 60 hours of training as opposed to 180 hours for emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

EMRs are certified to provide simple, noninvasive care focused on lifesaving interventions for critical patients, rendering on-site emergency care while awaiting additional EMS response from an EMT or higher-level personnel.

Some 30 states including North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska currently certify EMRs. The state Department of Health, the South Dakota EMS Association, the American Heart Association and local emergency responders testified in favor of the bill, which is also supported by SDAHO.