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On January 28, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the HERO Act, S. 3244, companion legislation to H.R. 1646, which was introduced last year by Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The HERO Act establishes a series of programs to address public safety behavioral health issues, including:
Creates a grant program for peer-support behavioral health and wellness programs at fire departments and EMS agencies Directs the U.S. Fire Administration in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and make publicly available resources to be used by the federal government and other entities to educate mental health professionals about the unique behavioral health issues that firefighters and EMS personnel face Establishes a system for collecting data on suicide deaths of public safety officers.
“I’d like to thank Senators Rosen and Fischer, as well as Representatives Bera and Fitzpatrick, for introducing the HERO Act to assist emergency responders and public safety agencies dealing with behavioral health issues,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair Steve Hirsch. “For too long the challenges facing our nation’s firefighters and EMS providers associated with behavioral health have been underappreciated. Passage of the HERO Act will focus much-needed attention and resources on helping to address this critical problem.”
You can use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators asking them to cosponsor the HERO Act.