first responders

Forty-nine people died in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando in 2016, but new information indicates that 16 of those victims may have been able to survive their injuries -- if they'd been treated sooner.

Robin Sussingham talks to John Montes, an Emergency Services Specialist with the National Fire Protection Association about the NFPA's new standards for first responders.


Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal has rolled out new training materials for employers of the state’s first responders. It’s to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A new law will takes effect next month that expands workers’ compensation benefits for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcements officers and other first responders.

Workers comp for those professions will now include post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD Now Included in FL Workers' Comp

Sep 13, 2018

Legislation to expand workers’ compensation benefits to include post-traumatic stress disorder for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other first responders will take effect in Florida next month.

While people in the Mid-Atlantic states make their last-minute preparations for Hurricane Florence, emergency responders from the Tampa Bay region are there in North Carolina, helping with medical evacuations. 

Eatonville Board Denies Disability Pension For Pulse First Responders

Sep 7, 2018
WMFE

The Town of Eatonville has denied a disability pension for a Pulse first responder with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Consolidated Dispatch Agency (CDA) is on an uphill climb as it works to overcome a series of tragic errors and fill vacant positions.

The agency ran into trouble soon after it was created in 2013. It endured some high profile technical problems that were blamed, in part, for the shooting death of Leon County deputy Chris Smith as he responded to a house fire.

The CDA was also blamed for bumbled responses in the Betton Hills murder of a Florida State University law professor and a shooting at FSU’s Strozier Library.

Now, a new interim director is at the helm. Steve Harrelson has soent nearly 30 years with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. He’s also the CDA’s fourth director in five years. He says his priorities include fully staffing the dispatch floor – where 500,000 calls are answered annually - and boosting morale.

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Fentanyl and carfentanil can kill first responders if they come in contact with them while responding to a drug overdose.

The Walton County Sheriff’s office is hoping to better assist residents with differing special needs with the kick off of a new program.

Scott Davidson / Wikimedia Commons

A Florida police officer has been disciplined for not turning on her lights and siren when responding to the scene of an accidental shooting death.

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A Tampa area firefighter is recovering from serious injuries after falling out of a fire truck on the way to a call.

The commission tasked with investigating the Parkland school shooting discussed on Wednesday how Broward County and the Broward Sheriff's Office communicate and split duties when responding to emergencies. 

Forty nine people died and dozens were injured in the Pulse nightclub shooting two years ago. Not counted in the total are some of the first responders who are now struggling with PTSD after witnessing the scene.

WMFE

On the morning of June 12, 2016, police officer Omar Delgado pulled his cruiser up to his two-story townhome in Sanford and sat in silence for 15 minutes, trying to process what he had seen during 3 1/2 hours inside the Pulse nightclub.

Abe Aboraya/WMFE

At the border between Brevard and Orange counties, a line of fire trucks with their lights on greet Tom “Bull” Hill as a hero when he arrives to walk across the county.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday awarded Florida $1 million to help defray the cost of law enforcement officers and other emergency workers who have been involved in the response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement sought the funds, at Gov. Rick Scott’s direction, through the federal agency’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and a grant program designed to reimburse states and communities that face precipitous costs related to major crime incidents.

Kris_Kolak / Flickr

Florida voters will decide whether the state Constitution should mandate death benefits be paid when law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters and other first responders are killed while performing their official duties.

In a 30-7 vote on Monday, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission backed the proposal (Proposal 6002), which will appear as Amendment 7 on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Brian Dugan announced plans Thursday to commemorate Autism Awareness Month. Their new program, "Help Us, Help You" is an online special needs registry for first responders in the city of Tampa.

Buckhorn announced in his State of the City address last year that he wants to make Tampa one of the first cities in America to be designated as autism friendly. This registry is the next step in his initiative.

Firefighters, police officers and other first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder will qualify for a full array of workers’ compensation insurance benefits effective Oct. 1, under a bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday.

Joined by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Attorney General Pam Bondi and legislative leaders, Scott signed the measure (SB 376) during an appearance at the Tampa Firefighters Museum.

Workers’ Comp, Health Care Bills Go To Scott

Mar 14, 2018

Three health care-related bills, including one to expand workers’ compensation insurance benefits for injured first responders, were sent Monday to Gov. Rick Scott. 

Josh Vandegrift was just starting a 24-hour shift for the Cocoa Fire Department on Florida’s Space Coast when the call came in: A pedestrian had been hit by a vehicle about 100 yards from the station where he worked.

Christopher Hopfner / Flickr

First responders being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder could soon have extended benefits under a bill passed Monday by the Florida Legislature. 

Christopher Hopfner / Flickr

Firefighters, police officers and other first responders could get workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder under a bill passed by the Florida Senate.

Peter Haden/WLRN

A Florida bill to assist first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has found new life in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

It is standard protocol for police, firefighters, and paramedics to run toward the danger. Over time, that can take a toll on the mental health of first responders. Now, a measure in Florida’s Legislature is focusing on protecting first responders who experience PTSD as a result of such a stressful job. 

Florida lawmakers want first responders to get workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder. But the House bill would only give them a year to file a claim. 

WMFE

Former Orlando police officer Gerry Realin isn't the same since he spent five hours in the Pulse nightclub among the bodies of those killed in what was then the nation's deadliest mass shooting.

Plan Would Aid First Responders With PTSD

Jan 17, 2018
Christopher Hopfner / Flickr

A Senate panel on Tuesday gave the nod to a bill that would help first responders receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder without accompanying physical injuries.

WMFE

The attorney for a Pulse first responder blames the City of Orlando and Orlando Police Department for exacerbating the officer’s anxiety, preventing him from returning to work.

First responders run towards crashes, emergencies and catastrophes, not away from them. And for some, their experiences are leading to post traumatic stress disorder. But in Florida, first responders who develop PTSD on the job don’t get compensated, unless they have a physical injury as well. Now there are efforts at the statehouse to change that. A note to listeners, the following story includes frank discussion of death and suicide.

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