JACKSON, Miss.—First responders and emergency management crews gathered at the state capital on Thursday in their support of a house bill.
The proposed bill would raise the death benefits for emergency management agency personnel from $65,000 to $100,000 if they were lost in the line of duty.
This benefit would cover people like firemen, police officers, EMTs and other first responders.
Representative Tom Miles, one of the bills supporters, spoke during the press conference.
“It’s a way of telling our emergency management people thank you for your service,” he said.
Miles said no taxes would have to be raised to increase the money for first responder families either. The Public Safety Verification bill, according to Miles, will cover all the expenses for this through fines it garners starting in July 2013.
“It’s just taking the money off the top and their won’t be any appropriated money for the addition, he said.
About 50 first responders were on hand to show their support and John Pope, president of the Mississippi Fire Fighter’s Association, spoke on the behalf of firemen around the state.
“It’s a big thank you for all crews in attendance today and we’re very humbled,” he said.
According to Pope he says the raising of benefits would be closer to the level of what federal emergency crews are receiving currently if a tragedy occurs.
Lastly, Pope agreed this was win-win for everyone but still a somber reminder.
“We know that each time out the door when responding to a call could be our last,” he said. “We’re all for the raising of benefits but hope to never have to use them.”