First responders are often on the front lines of the most dangerous and trying events communities in the United States face. At the same time, the past few years have seen several debates that question how well government agencies and the laws they uphold support first responders, with many of the conversations being somewhat negative. Virtually all individuals agree that first responders need to have the support of the community behind them to do their jobs properly.
Lawsuits, as well as medical concerns, have been commonly discussed within the scope of first responders in local areas and nationally, and it appears as though the debate is reaching a tipping point of sorts. More individuals, as well as major journalists, are beginning to speak out for first responders.
A call to action
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board recently published an online post regarding a decision that was made by the Illinois Supreme Court in the opening months of 2016, with a vote of 4-3 to dispose of a bill called the "public duty rule." According to the publication, the rule had long protected first responders against lawsuits for actions taken in the field, and was intended to ensure that the individuals on the ground did not need to worry about what would occur should they make a mistake.
While there might be some argument to be made regarding the potential for recourse among citizens who have not been served properly, this particular rule opens the floodgates to lawsuits that are beyond the scope of realistic issues. The editorial board members stated that the decision has already led to some serious reactions from the Associated Firefighters of Illinois and Illinois Municipal League, with those groups trying to get the rule reinstated as soon as possible.
Interestingly, even before the rule was taken out of the Illinois record, federal laws superseded it and allowed citizens to sue first responder agencies in certain situations. The Chicago Sun-Times also stated that reinstating the bill would be the right thing to do, as it has "worked well both for citizens and first responders" for the nearly century and a half Illinois has been around.
Fundraiser to be held
CBS Chicago reported that the 100 Club of Chicago, which has been around for five decades, will be hosting an event to remember first responders who died on the job, and raise funds for the families involved with the support of Jewel-Osco. The month of May is devoted to this particular pursuit, and the source noted that these groups have so far donated $10 million to hundreds of families since its inception.
"Through the 100 Club, they know that there are literally tens of thousands of people out there whose hearts are pouring out in sympathy and appreciation for their sacrifice of what their loved one has given," Joe Ahern, chief executive officer of the 100 Club, told the news provider.
At the end of the day, these initiatives will make a big difference in the lives of first responders and their kin.