Portland’s public safety disability fund expects to receive 10 new claims a year from police or firefighters seeking benefits for two types of stress disorders as the result of a new state law that went into effect last month.
Lawmakers this summer approved Senate Bill 507 to define post-traumatic stress and acute stress disorders as occupational diseases for full-time police, firefighters, 911 emergency dispatchers, corrections officers and emergency medical service providers.
“There’s a lot of work we need to do in the mental health field,” said Alan Ferschwiler, president of the Portland Fire Fighters Association. “The city needs to take care of our members in a way we haven’t in the past.”
Ferschwiler cited examples of past rejected claims that he said should have been approved: a firefighter’s stress claim after being pulled out from a collapsing building and a firefighter who raced into a fire wearing no mask to rescue a woman.