NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Helping Emergency Response Officials (HERO) Act sponsored by Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) was ceremoniously signed by the Governor on Wednesday, June 21, in War Memorial Auditorium. The act aiding the families of emergency response officials who are killed in the line of duty is enacted on July 1.
“In our rural areas in particular, 70 percent of our firefighters are volunteers,” said Senator Bowling. “Even in cities, most emergency response officials work two or three other jobs to make a living. It’s difficult for them to get enough insurance because of the danger they face, but while we’re running away from danger, they’re running toward it.”
The HERO Act increases the death benefit from the State of Tennessee for any firefighter, volunteer rescue worker or law enforcement official who is killed in the line of duty. The act significantly increases the lump sum paid at the time of death from $25,000 to a $250,000 annuity with the first responder’s estate receiving annual installments of $50,000 per year.
“Although these are benefits that no family wants to collect, I am proud of the hard work that went into making these benefits available,” said Senator Bowling. “Most of all, I am grateful to the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price for their willingness to keep our communities safe.”
“I think this is a way we can certainly show our appreciation to all emergency responders for their sacrifice and our support to their family members,” added Bowling.