Singleton, Greenstein Bill to Revise Previous Provisions for Counseling Emergency Responders Passes Senate

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Linda Greenstein, which would revise the requirements to provide counseling and support services to emergency services personnel following a traumatic incident, passed the Senate.

“It is estimated that 30 percent of first responders develop severe behavioral health conditions as a result of the tragic and traumatic events they witness on a daily basis,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). “This staggering statistic proves that there is not enough being done to support our emergency personnel, and it is evident that we must do more to help them.  This legislation will ensure that all emergency responders will have the support they need to help with their emotional and mental well-being. It is especially fitting that this legislation passed the Senate on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.”

The bill, S-3368, would require individuals providing counseling services to emergency services personnel to be certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. or a similar entity designated by the Commissioner of Health. These counselors would be required to provide documentation and annual proof of certification to any emergency services provider employing the services of the counselor.

“First responders are always on the front line of the scene, facing highly stressful and risky calls that often put them in harm’s way,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “These essential duties are incredibly strenuous, to responders, and get 69 percent of EMS professionals report not receiving enough time to recover between traumatic events. It is imperative that we are doing all that is necessary to ensure that our first responders are receiving ample care for the difficult situations they have to go through regularly in an effort to support them mentally and emotionally.”

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 37-0.