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Monday, January 7, 2013

PTSD—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut have our responders thinking about the families, the city, and about the responders who handled the call.

A recent Associated Press story reported that the police officers in Newtown are “generally holding up well,” but some of the responders have been traumatized, are unable to return to work, and are using up their sick time. The article states that the city’s work comp insurance does not cover treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and some of the officers will be running out of sick time soon.

PTSD has sometimes been referred to as a natural response to an unnatural event.  It does not take long for most new firefighters, medics, and police officers to realize that they are working in a world that will send them to unnatural events—and sometimes they need help.

The 35W Bridge Memorial reads, in part:
Selfless actions and compassion create enduring
community out of tragic events.
The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) provides coverage for public safety responders with PTSD as a benefit to their city’s overall workers’ compensation coverage. The coverage is for any city emergency response employee who is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of witnessing or participating in a traumatic incident of death or great bodily harm.

The benefit covers:
  • Unreimbursed costs for up to one year for medical treatment, including psychiatric or psychological counseling, to cure and relieve the effects of the PTSD.
  • Unreimbursed wage or income loss during the time period the employee is unable to perform essential functions of her or her normal employment, for as long as one year.
If you or one of your public safety team needs help, contact your city’s human resources staff member to get help.

Just because someone looks good on the outside does not mean they are doing okay on the inside.


                                                  Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next time: “Dealing with Pressure—Make That Tire Pressure”

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


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