House Passes HERO Act to Address Public Safety Behavioral Health
September 29, 2020
On September 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act (H.R. 1646). The bill, which was introduced last year by Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), establishes a series of programs to address public safety behavioral health issues, including:
- Establishes a grant program for peer-support behavioral health and wellness programs at fire departments and EMS agencies
- Directs the U.S. Fire Administration in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and make publicly available resources to be used by the federal government and other entities to educate mental health professionals about the unique behavioral health issues that firefighters and EMS personnel face
- Establishes a system for collecting data on suicide deaths of public safety officers
“I’d like to thank the House of Representatives, and particularly Representatives Bera, Fitzpatrick, and all of the cosponsors of the HERO Act for passage of this critical legislation,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair Steve Hirsch. “For too long the challenges facing our nation’s firefighters and EMS providers associated with behavioral health have been under appreciated. Enactment of the HERO Act will focus much-needed attention and resources on helping to address this critical problem. I urge the Senate to take up and pass the HERO Act quickly so that it can be signed into law.”
You can use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to send a message to your U.S. Senators asking them to cosponsor the HERO Act.