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Write Congress to Extend PSOB to All EMS Practitioners!

Oct 09, 2009

Right now, there are two bills making their way through Congress to extend the Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB) program to non-governmental ambulance personnel. The Senate Bill is called the Dale Long Emergency Medical Service Providers Protection Act, and the House Bill is called the Nongovernmental Emergency Responder Family Protection Act. While neither bill, as currently written, extends the PSOB program to all EMS practitioners, these bills provide a great opportunity for us to let our congressional leaders know what kind of legislation we want.

Background: Congress established the PSOB program to provide a one-time financial benefit to eligible survivors of governmental public safety officers whose deaths are the direct result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. In addition, disability benefits are provided to public safety officers who have been completely disabled in the line of duty by a catastrophic injury, if that injury prevents them from performing gainful work. The program does not cover non-governmental ambulance personnel.

As of October 1, 2008, the death benefit is $315,746. To expand this benefit based on an average of 12 line-of-duty deaths of non-governmental practitioners per year would cost approximately $3.79 million per year. In 2003 and 2008, bills were introduced in Congress to extend the program, but the bills did not pass through committee.

In our position statement on this issue, NAEMT has declared strong support for extending the federal PSOB program to ALL police, fire and EMS personnel who lose their lives providing EMS as a public service.

How you can help: Please go to NAEMT’s Capwiz online advocacy service to send letters to your Senators and House Representatives to co-sponsor these bills. It takes only minutes for you to send letters to your Members of Congress. All you need to do is enter your zip code and Capwiz determines your congressional representatives and provides you with a draft letter. It will then e-mail or fax your letter for you.

Please help the families of ALL fallen EMS practitioners across the nation by advocating for this vital legislation. Contact your Members of Congress today. Every letter counts!