Conn. Bill Would Help Firefighters Who Lose Comrades

A bill that would make Connecticut firefighters eligible for workers' compensation coverage for mental or emotional distress if they witness the death of a colleague in the line of duty passed the state house on Wednesday.

The House of Representatives voted 143-to-3 in favor of the bill, which now awaits further action in the State Senate, according to The Middletown Patch.

State Rep. Christie Caprino championed the bill after witnessing the emotional toll on colleagues of two Portland, Conn. fighters who were injured.

"Under the proposed legislation, firefighters that witness the death of a colleague in the line of duty will be afforded coverage for mental or emotion distress suffered as a result," she said while speaking on the floor Wednesday. "These men and women, many of them volunteers, face the real threat of losing life or colleague, but are also confronted with the prospect of needing to return to line of duty the very next day.

"We need to protect the health of our public safety personnel who risk their lives daily."

If the bill passes, a firefighter's diagnosis would need to be made by a licensed and board certified mental health professional to qualify.