02 Oct: Madden/Sarlo Bill Would Create Hotline To Help First Responders Cope With Trauma

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Paul Sarlo which would establish a toll-free, 24-hour hotline to respond to calls from fire and EMS personnel dealing with psychological or emotional distress was unanimously approved today by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“Occupational stress is hazardous for anyone, but when it comes to people in occupations like firefighting and emergency services, too much stress could prove to be life-threatening, not just to themselves, but also to the people they serve,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, a former State Trooper. “By calling upon former fire and EMS professionals to staff the hotline, stressed first-responders would have an opportunity to talk out their problems with people who really understand the pressures they are experiencing.”

“According to a report issued by the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, roughly 20% of EMS workers experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic. “Day in and day out our first-responders are called upon to save the lives of members of the public; we have to make sure that we look out for their health and well-being too.”