Firefighters testify in support of Neb. PTSD bill

The bill would provide preventative training and improve access to workers’ compensation for PTSD and other mental health conditions


By Laura French

LINCOLN, Neb. — A group of Nebraska firefighters told state legislators their personal stories of trauma in order to drive support for a proposed mental health bill.

The bill would improve access to workers’ compensation for firefighters and police officers with PTSD and other mental health conditions by allowing them to make their case through testimony from a mental health professional. It also reduces a claimant’s burden of proving that their mental injury was sustained on the job.

 

Ready to begin committee. #LB963 #PTSD #NELegislativeDay #NebraskaPFFA International Association of Fire Fighters IAFF 2nd District

Posted by Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association on Monday, January 27, 2020

Omaha Firefighter Tyler Fausset told senators of a 2015 call he says changed his life for the worse, according to KETV.

“This call was the worst of society, where a young mother lost her life. In the time following, I began to see my life around me fall apart,” Fausset testified.

Omaha Firefighter Donald Dodge, who comes from a family with three generations of firefighters, said he suffered trauma from a call in 2008 that has followed him for years.

“Over the next decade, my personality changed radically. Memory loss, quick temper, responding aggressively to being surprised,” Dodge said.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer, would also provide funding for preventative annual resilience training for firefighters and police.

 

‪Senator Tom Brewer addressing #YourLNKfirefighters and Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association members on his bill LB936 improving #PTSD care for fire fighters and police officers. IAFF 2nd District

Posted by Lincoln Fire Fighters Local 644 on Monday, January 27, 2020

Opponents of the bill who testified said the costs associated would burden small towns, and some also objected to the inclusion of some clergy under the bill’s definition of “mental health professional.”

Mental health experts also testified, some pointing out that presumptive PTSD compensation laws have already been passed in 14 other U.S. states.

“First responders face unique and uniquely dangerous risks in their sworn mission to keep the public safe,” Brewer said. “It is imperative for society to recognize occupational injuries related to post-traumatic stress.”

 

Myrrhanda Jones from the IAFF Center of Excellence told the Business and Labor committee that 1 in 5 fire fighters will...

Posted by Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association on Monday, January 27, 2020

 

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