First responders protected from exposure to deadly toxins under Joyce-sponsored bill

The first federal program to provide local governments with resources to purchase containment devices that can reduce first responders’ risk of secondary exposure to lethal substances would be authorized under a bipartisan, bicameral bill offered by U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH).

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to support the health and safety of local law enforcement,” Rep. Joyce said. “I encourage my colleagues in both the House and Senate to support this legislation.”

The congressman on Feb. 2 sponsored the Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure Act, H.R. 795, with seven original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and David Trone (D-MD) to permit state and local governments to use federal grants to purchase containment devices that safely store narcotics and preserve them for evidentiary use and to also provide training on their use.

“Fentanyl and other lethal substances are flowing into communities across Ohio at record rates,” said Rep. Joyce. “First responders must be equipped with necessary protection to help ensure they are protected from these substances when responding to emergency situations.” 

“I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that will ensure all first responders have access to devices that will shield them from toxic substances like fentanyl or anthrax,” Rep. Trone added. “It is our job to protect those who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe.”

The companion bill, S. 261, was also introduced on Feb. 2 by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). 

The bill has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Union of Police Associations, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Tactical Officers Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.