PTSD Coverage for First Responders

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Senate Bill 376 Signed

Fort Myers Beach Fire Chief Matt Love, along with members of the FMBFD Command Staff, joined several local Public Safety Leaders as a press event on Monday, April 2, 2018, recognizing the passage of Senate Bill 376. In attendance were members of the Florida House and Senate, along with Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Senate Bill 376, which Governor Rick Scott signed into law last week, extends workers compensation coverage for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Florida’s First Responders.

According to the Center for Suicide Prevention, First Responders, which includes law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics, are at increased risk for developing both acute stress and post traumatic stress disorders. The very nature of these professions brings individuals into routine contact with traumatic stressors. First responders experience PTSD at a rate double that of the average citizen and it is estimated that at any given time, up to 20% of first responders suffer PTSD in silence.

Sadly, all too often, first responders suffering in silence results in loss of life. Recent data demonstrates that up to 6.6% of America’s first responders have attempted suicide at least once – ten times the rate of the general population.

With passage of Senate Bill 376, our brave First Responders and their families no longer have to suffer in silence. They can seek the help they deserve. The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department offered thanks to local and state elected officials, public safety leaders and labor leaders who helped make this life-saving legislation a reality for the community’s brave first responders.

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