Would-be Connecticut law spotlights first responders, PTSD
We acquainted readers with a key piece of pending Connecticut legislation focused upon a select band of state workers in our immediately preceding blog spot. Our March 13 Morizio Law Firm entry spotlighted Senate Bill 231, a would-be law that is currently working its way through the state’s General Assembly.
The particulars of SB 231 are direct and well defined. As we noted last week, the bill seeks “to expand the reach of the state’s first responder post-traumatic stress disorder presumptive law.”
That there should be a presumption attached to emergency first responders is hardly questioned by persons closely familiar with the type of work they do. This special occupational niche comprises dedicated and specially trained individuals who act with dispatch in times of health/safety crises.
Pursuant to that, they see and do things linked with saving lives that the bulk of the general public can scarcely imagine.
Doing that on a routine basis can take a stressful toll on police officers, ambulance drivers, firefighters, correction professionals, telecommunications personnel (e.g., dispatchers) and other front-line responders.
SB 231 recognizes that. As one media account discussing the bill states, its intent is to secure workers’ compensation benefits “for certain mental or emotional impairments determined to be job-related.”
Most of us likely can’t even imagine what some of those stressors are. The legislation refers to witnesses of “qualifying events” linked with death or severe injury that can yield lasting and debilitating effects. The supporters of SB 231 want individuals working for the public good who are subjected to post-traumatic trauma to have ready and more liberalized recourse to benefits when they suffer on-the-job PTSD symptoms.
If passed, SB 231 is slated to take legal effect on July 1 of this year.