Senate Passes 'Dale Long Act' to Boost PSOB for Responders

Federal benefits for families certain responders permanently injured or killed in the line of duty took another step closer to reality as the Senate passed the measure by a wide margin.

The "Dale Long Act," introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has passed by an 85-11 vote.

The House overwhelmingly passed the legislation in late June.

The measure expands federal PSOB funds to volunteer and non-proft EMS responders and states that mandatory funding be provided for disability.

The law also adds vascular rupture to the causes of death under the Hometown Hero Act. Heretofore, if a responder died of a heart attack within 24 hours of an emergency call, they were eligible for benefits.

Officials from various fire and EMS organizations have shown the need for that to be expanded to include vascular hemmorage. 

Leahy has led the charge for the change after one of his constituents, Dale Long, was killed in an ambulance crash in June 2009.

The NAEMT has been lobbying for the change not only during its annual EMS on the Hill Day but earmarked it as a legislative priroity.

Congress created the PSOB program more than three decades ago to provide tangible help to the surviving families of police, firefighters and medics who lose their lives or are disabled in the line of duty.