First Responders

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Legislation to expand workers’ compensation benefits to include post-traumatic stress disorder for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other first responders unanimously passed its first Senate committee in Tallahassee last week.

PTSD is currently only fully covered by workers’ comp if a mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury that requires medical treatment. Advocates say the suicide rate among first responders is higher than the rate among the general population, and that expanding workers’ comp coverage for mental health issues like PTSD would bring that number down.

First responders run towards crashes, emergencies and catastrophes, not away from them. And for some, their experiences are leading to post traumatic stress disorder. But in Florida, first responders who develop PTSD on the job don’t get compensated, unless they have a physical injury as well. Now there are efforts at the statehouse to change that. A note to listeners, the following story includes frank discussion of death and suicide.

Fort Lauderdale is upping its fire rescue game. Last Friday the city christened  Fireboat 49, a high tech response boat for the fire rescue team.

 

 

Fireboat 49 is replacing a much smaller vessel that the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department was using to respond to fires and rescue missions on the water. That could be anything from looking for something or someone underwater to helping out a cruise ship. 

Legal Aid Services of Collier County

This weekend, veterans, first responders, and active duty military and their families can get free legal aid to make wills.

Legal Aid Service of Collier County will help with wills, living wills and related estate planning during the event, called “Wills For Heroes.”

Legal Aid’s Director of Development, Jeff Ahren, said it’s especially important for current first responders and military personnel have a will.

Complaints from Floridians hit with surprise bills after a ride in an ambulance have the state’s insurance consumer advocate looking for answers.  First responders are pointing at insurers.

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