- HB 157 Establishes PTSD as Disease that May Result from Firefighters’ Duties
HB 157, legislation that establishes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a disease that—when diagnosed in a firefighter without previous health issues—can be presumed to have been caused by the firefighter’s service, passed the New Mexico House of Representatives Monday.
“Yes, our firefighters are heroes, but they are also human,” bill sponsor Rep. Debbie Armstrong said. “We ask so much of them—from running into burning buildings to pulling victims out of mangled cars. It’s time we let them know that we understand the real intensity of the work they do and the consequences it can have on their mental health.”
HB 157 simply adapts existing New Mexico law to expand the definition of “Firefighter Occupational Diseases” to include PTSD.
“Firefighters risk their lives every day when they go to work,” Armstrong said, “and they take that risk to keep all of us safe. Whether it’s the result of one truly devastating event or the cumulative impact of being on the scene for many horrific tragedies, firefighters can develop PTSD, and they need to be able to seek treatment.”
HB 157 now heads to the Senate for consideration.