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Families Of First Responders Who Die In Duty Can Retain Health Insurance

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Families Of First Responders Who Die In Duty Can Retain Health Insurance

Putnam County will provide families of First Responders who die while on duty the chance to remain on the county’s health insurance for up to two years.

Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said this idea began as a law enforcement bill in the state legislature. Farris said in 2021, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association partnered with other emergency services, and the law was passed for all First Responders. Farris said it was important to ensure that the county was aware, so he brought the bill to the Putman County Commission last week.

“It becomes a financial issue to where, maybe the family does not have any money in order to pay the insurance,” Farris said. “We just felt like that was the last thing that a family, a wife, spouse, kids needed to be worrying about.”

Farris said the law states that the state government will reimburse municipalities for the expense of the additional two years. Farris said some 400 First Responders across America were killed on duty in the last year. Farris said they shouldn’t have to worry about their families’ financial security in the event of a tragedy.

“Just knowing that the law is in place and that when they’re out doing their job, they don’t have to worry about their families being taken care of,” Farris said. “So I think they, you know, check that box and have a little peace of mind.”

Farris said automobile accidents are the most common way that First Responders are killed on duty, but many of them perform potentially dangerous work every day. Farris said he hopes not to have to use this law often, but it was important to sheriffs across the state to have the bill passed by local government. Farris was President of the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association in 2021 when the bill was crafted.

“Glad that the state legislatures were able to see it our way and do that,” Farris said. “And they’ve done that with honor.”

Farris said Senator Paul Bailey and Representative Ryan Williams played integral roles in getting the bill passed at the state level. Farris said he was pleased when local authority showed their support as well.


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