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Indiana lawmaker introduces bill to create a public safety research fund

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Indianapolis — Indiana Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) has introduced state legislation that would create a public safety research fund aimed at understanding and improving the physical health and safety and psychological well-being of first responders.

The bill (H.B. 1066), introduced Jan. 3, would direct the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to partner with the National Institute for Public Safety Health to oversee studies with the aim of making recommendations to enhance safety equipment and procedures, mental and physical health, and the daily routines of public safety professionals.

“Fire protection, emergency medical services and law enforcement are some of the most difficult jobs in the country,” Frye said in a Feb. 15 press release. “They face both physical and psychological dangers due to their professions. Dropping everything to serve our communities is a noble pursuit, and the extreme conditions of the job can sometimes take its toll on individuals.”

 

The average age of firefighters who experience their first heart attack is 49, compared with 66 for the general population, Frye points out in the release, citing NIPSH research. In addition, 40 percent of law enforcement officers have a sleep disorder, which puts them at greater risk for obesity, stroke and depression, as well as being involved in a motor vehicle crash.

“Continuing to improve and build upon existing information concerning the health of our public safety officers is a subject that is close to my heart,” Frye said. “These men and women deserve the best resources and information available.”

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