TRENTON — Firefighters and first responders
suffering from job-related stress would have access
to a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week hotline under a
bill approved by an Assembly panel recently.
The bill calls for the state Division of Fire Safety,
with the help of the University of Medicine and
Dentistry of New Jersey’s Behavioral Health Care
department, to create the toll-free hotline in order to
help people deal with the trauma they may witness
in their jobs.
"There’s a certain machismo or bravado in these
professions that makes it tough to admit when the
work is getting to you," said Assemblyman John
Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, one of the sponsors of
the bill. "We want to let our first responders know
that we’re here to help them deal with the emotional
dangers of the job as well as the physical ones."
The measure also would make available a list of
licensed or certified mental health professionals
who would be willing to debrief and counsel
firefighters and first responders.
The bill’s other sponsors are Assemblyman Fred
Scalera, D-Essex, and Assemblyman Upendra J.