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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2015 03:16 PM
From: Representative Michael H. O'Brien
To: All House members
Subject: Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law (House Bill 2463 of 2013-14 Session)
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to bring Pennsylvania's Heart & Lung Act into compliance with a 2011 Commonwealth Court decision. The decision stated that Paramedics that are hired by a Fire Department should be considered firefighters for purposes of Collective Bargaining. The Court found that Paramedics were a key part of firefighting operations. Specifically, Paramedics work and train with firefighters, respond to emergency situations with firefighters, received the same or similar training and the jobs are equally dangerous. Excluding Paramedics from the definition of firefighters is equivalent to excluding the driver of a fire truck because they don't hold the hose.

Due to these findings by Commonwealth Court, the legislation I am introducing will include Paramedics who are employed by Fire Departments as firefighters in the Heart and Lung Act. This will allow Paramedics who are injured on the job to receive Heart and Lung Act benefits. Currently, the City of Philadelphia is trying to prevent Paramedics from receiving these benefits.

The brave men and women who serve as Paramedics deserve our respect and they especially deserve help when they are injured on the job. I hope you will join me is sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB194