Public safety jobs to soon be considered first responder jobs

Indiana House Bill 1198 is waiting approval from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 11:52 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2020 9:25 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Indiana House Bill 1198 is waiting approval from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

It already passed the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate.

It's a bipartisan bill allowing more public safety jobs to be under the umbrella of first responders.

The Chief of Wabash Township Fire, Ed Ward, said this bill was a long time coming. 

Public safety matters.

These are the first three words in Indiana House Bill 1198.

"All of what we do from the time we get that call is tied to their ability to stay calm," said Ward.

Fire Chief Ed Ward is talking about 911 operators.

They will soon be considered first responders.

"Some of those folks are incredibly impacted by that job," said Ward. "By the ups and the downs of it."

In House Bill 1198 all of these professions are now listed as first responders in the state of Indiana:

Law Enforcement officers, firefighters, volunteer firefighters, corrections officers, public safety telecommunicators, EMS personnel and any other individuals whose duties in serving a public safety agency include rapid emergency response.

"Right now I think just getting this bill passed is a huge step for Indiana," said Ward.

It passed the Indiana House in January and the Indiana Senate in February.

"I think it is viewed more right now as an administrative law change, but I think Indiana is a head of the ball because the federal government hasn't been on board yet to make that change," said Ward.

There are eight politicians sponsoring the bill including State Representative Sheila Klinker.

"They are finally starting to zoom out a little bit," said Ward. "It is not just police, fire and EMS that have that connection with the people. It is huge. This is a big big step or that state."

If passed, the bill will go into effect July 1st of this year.

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