Surrounded by public safety officials, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday signed a law doubling the death benefit for families of Massachusetts first responders killed in the line of duty, reports the Republican.
The benefit will increase from $150,000 to $300,000. The change will be retroactive to March 15, so it will cover the family of Watertown firefighter Joseph Toscano, who died while fighting a fire on March 17.
Baker said the idea for increasing the death benefit came up at a memorial event days after Toscano's death. It took just eight days for lawmakers to pass the change as part of a supplemental budget bill.
"The daily life of those of us in public service for the most part comes with all kinds of surprises, but most of them are manageable," Baker said. "The first responder community, the public safety community, the surprises they have to deal with sometimes get significantly beyond what we deal with. This is one way for us ... to speak out and to support the families of those who put on the uniform every day."
The benefit is given to the family of any firefighter or police officer, full-time or reserve, as well as public prosecutors, municipal or public emergency medical technicians and correction officers who are killed in the line of duty or who sustain injuries on the job that directly caused their death.