Mayor Eric Johnson has asked the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee to consider allowing firefighters to take mental health leave if they experience a traumatic event in the line of duty.
Licensed police officers who experience a traumatic event on the job are now permitted up to five days of paid mental health leave per fiscal year. That leave is the result of a new state law which took effect Sept. 1.
“Our firefighters and paramedics take care of us. Now we have the opportunity to take care of them,” wrote Johnson in a memo to Adam McGough, chairman of the committee and council member representing District 10. “Our firefighters often experience stressful and traumatic ordeals. Sometimes, they have even been involved in life-threatening encounters, such as active-shooter situations and dangerous fires. And like our police officers, Dallas firefighters interact regularly with people who are experiencing the worst moments of their lives.”
McGough scheduled a briefing on the issue for the committee’s Feb. 14 meeting.
“The mental and emotional wellbeing of all of our city’s first responders, including our firefighters, is critical,” McGough said. “Not only is it the right thing to do to extend to our firefighters and paramedics the same paid mental-health leave benefit currently extended to our licensed police officers, but also, it is a key component of public safety in Dallas.”