For immediate release:
April 16, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - Legislation authored by State Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis) that will extend special benefits to emergency medical service (EMS) providers, who die in the line of duty, now moves to Governor Mike Pence for final approval.
Members of the Indiana House today concurred with changes to House Bill 1080 originally made in the Senate. The bill establishes the Public Safety Officer Special Death Benefit Fund. Benefits in the amount of $150,000 would be paid to the beneficiaries of EMS employees who lose their lives on the job.
“Current state laws are unclear as to whether or not EMS providers are eligible for the death benefit like police and firefighters,” Macer noted.
“This legislation gives EMS workers some peace of mind knowing, that if the unthinkable were to happen, their families and children won’t be left behind by the state.”
EMS providers are seven times more likely to be killed in the line of duty than other public safety officers. Violent acts and automobile accidents largely contribute to this number.
“I think society might be insufficiently informed on the dangerous challenges facing EMS workers,” Macer explained. “These individuals travel an uncertain pathway every day by risking their own safety in order to save others’ lives.
“EMS providers will finally get the recognition they deserve as a crucial division of public safety,” she added.
Under HB 1080, the employers of EMS providers would have to pay $100 annually per employee to ensure qualification for the death benefit. Payment for the coverage would then be deposited into the Public Safety Officer Special Death Benefit Fund.