Everyday in Ontario, Paramedics, Police officers, Firefighters and other first responders respond to thousands of calls for assistance. They bravely go into situations from which most people would flee. In so doing, first responders provide often lifesaving assistance to people who, mostly unexpectedly, find themselves in need. How the demands, environment and conditions of first responder’s jobs providing that assistance leads to unique challenges is only starting to come to the public’s attention.
At DSF, we have lawyers who are former first responders, and our partner, John Schuman, is still a paramedic. We have identified that, in addition, to the legal issues that can face anyone, first responders have their own particular legal issues. In response, DSF started a special practice group to address the special legal needs of first responder. Those needs include:
- work place injuries related to mental health such as PTSD, depression and anxiety that impact many aspects of their lives, cause insurance issues and can impact on interactions with others that cause unique legal situation and needs
- human rights and workplace accommodation related to the unique job conditions
- family law issues related to working a mentally demanding job at day and night on weekends and holidays that creates difficulties in parenting, working through matters with spouses, and also issues unique income issues for first responders
- regulatory issues – as many first responders have both employers and other oversight organizations;
- different perspectives on what is important and what is an “emergency”, especially when dealing with various legal demands
In addition, DSF recognizes that first responders make tremendous sacrifices to help others. So, we are supporting them. Our First Responder’s Group has lawyers dedicated to addressing the unique needs of paramedics, fire fighters, police officers and other first responders. Our lawyers proudly wear #ivegotyourback911 hoodies and support the Tema Conter Memorial Trust. But, to do more, we also offer a 20% discount on our fees to first responders in many areas of law (not limited to “first responder” issues”)
DSF recognizes the importance of helping the first responders who help us. The necessity of recognizing first responder’s contributions is clear from this post under #ivegotyourback911 hashtag.
“We must keep pushing. We must have our stories heard. When you wear our shirts and hoodies or wristbands or sport our stickers..wear them proud and when people ask what it means..you tell them…tell them with all of your heart and soul that what is happening to us is NOT okay….you tell them that we have lost over 50 people since May/14. You tell them that we are a family and family sticks together. You tell them that we are dying because we spend our lives helping others……#ivegotyourback911”
To learn more about the unique challenges first responders face trying to help others, visit www.ivegotyourback911.com and www.tema.ca. For legal information designed for first responders go to: http://www.devrylaw.ca/first-responders/