For immediate release:
Feb. 2, 2015
STATEHOUSE - Members of the Indiana House of Representatives today approved legislation authored by State Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis) that extends a special death benefit to emergency medical service (EMS) providers who die in the line of duty.
House Bill 1080 establishes the Public Safety Officer Special Death Benefit Fund. Benefits from the fund are paid in the amount of $150,000 to survivors and beneficiaries of EMS employees who die while carrying out job-related duties.
“Current state laws are unclear as to whether or not EMS providers are eligible for the death benefit like police and firefighters,” said Macer. “I think society may not be sufficiently informed on the dangerous challenges facing EMS workers. These individuals travel an uncertain pathway by putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others.”
EMS providers are seven times more likely to be killed in the line of duty than other public safety officers. Automobile wrecks and violent acts are huge contributing factors to this figure.
Rep. Macer discusses the need for House Bill 1080 in this 44-second mp3 audio.
“This legislation provides peace of mind for EMS workers,” said Macer. “They will have mental ease knowing their families and children won’t be left behind by the state if the unthinkable were to happen. EMS will finally be deservedly recognized as a vital section of public safety,” she added.
The employers of EMS providers must pay $100 per employee each year to ensure eligibility for the death benefit.
Macer is joined on HB 1080 by co-authors State Reps. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth), Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), and Linda Lawson (D-Hammond).
House Bill 1080 passed with a vote of 92-1 and will now move to the Indiana Senate for consideration.