PTSD bill draws 100+ first responders to Wis. capitol

First responders gathered to lobby for the PTSD worker’s compensation bill, which currently excludes EMS professionals


By Laura French

MADISON, Wis. — More than 100 firefighters, EMS providers and other first responders gathered at Wisconsin’s capitol building Wednesday to lobby for a bill that would provide PTSD coverage for first responders, but which currently excludes EMS personnel.

The bill currently in legislation would remove some of the legal obstacles for public safety workers seeking worker’s compensation for PTSD, according to FOX 47. A 1974 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision requires claimants to prove they experienced stress beyond what is normally experienced by others in the same job. “I had to tell (a) firefighter, you’re going to get push back,” Attorney Dan Schoshinksi told the group of lobbying first responders before they met with legislators. “The employer or the insurance company, they’re going to conclude this is just part of your job, so it’s not extraordinary stress, sorry.”

First responders in the state hope by showing their support for the bill and speaking directly to lawmakers, they can increase access to potentially lifesaving compensation and protections.

EMS providers also hope to show that they should be included, along with firefighters and law enforcement, in the language of the bill, ensuring they can receive fair compensation for mental trauma experienced on the job.

“You see horrendous, horrible things that no other human, no one should have to see,” Deer-Grove EMS Paramedic Devon Anders said. “If we can make it so people are able to come back to the job instead of being forced out or worse, having such mental anguish that they’re contemplating taking their own lives, this is essential legislation … This affects every single one of us.”