Bills provide help and resources for first responders

RENO, NV (KOLO) Governor Steve Sisolak has signed into law Senate Bill 215 and Assembly Bill 492. The bills further protect first responders who may be suffering from cancer or mental health issues as a result of years of service to their community.

"Nobody really knows what we see and what we go through here and what we're exposed to," Tacy Kelly, a Reno firefighter, says.

AB 492 went into effect immediately when it was signed June 3. SB 215 was signed June 12 and goes into effect July 1.

"This is going to help take care of us. We take care of each other on a daily basis, and we're not asking for much, but we're asking to be taken care of too, because that's what we do for the public," Kelly says.

Reno firefighter Tom Dunn says addressing post traumatic stress disorder is a major step forward as AB 492 requires all agencies to provide training for PTSD and outlines how first responders can come back to work after treatment.

"If you are conclusively diagnosed with a post traumatic stress disorder injury that allows you to have workers' comp under the statute of the state, allows you to seek proper treatment and come back to full duty," Dunn says.

Captain Bryon Hunt of the Carson City Fire Department also serves as the District Vice President for the Professional Firefighters of Nevada, and says this legislation gives firefighters across the state peace of mind.

"It allows us to continue to do our job and feeling a little more comfortable about pushing the limits and taking those risks that are needed to protect the community, but also being protected and taken care of on the backside," Hunt says.

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