A bill passed by the Washington State Legislature will make 911 dispatchers eligible for workers compensation benefits if they suffer from post-traumatic stress.
Under the state’s insurance laws, workers who suffer a disability or injury on the job are entitled to benefits, but rules exclude claims based on mental conditions.
Law enforcement officers and firefighters are exempt from those exclusions, and HB 2758 extends that exemption to dispatchers.
“It acknowledges a piece for dispatch that tells them that the outside world is beginning to understand that the behind-the-scenes first responder needs care," said Kris DeVore, 911 operations division manager at Clark Regional Emergency Services.
“There was a lot of us suffering. It didn’t get talked about. You were like, you know, ‘there’s nothing wrong with me’ kind of thing. You don’t show that weakness," said Henderson.