Trending Topics

PTSD bill named after Tenn. FF to become law on New Year’s Day

Cleveland Fire Department Captain James Sample died by suicide after struggling with PTSD

Cleveland Tennessee Fire Captain Dustin Samples.jpg

Cleveland Fire Captain Dustin Samples.

Cleveland, Tenn. Fire Department/Facebook

By Andy Sher
Chattanooga Times Free Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee firefighters working at smaller departments could become eligible for workers’ compensation for job-related post-traumatic stress disorder under a new law, named for a late Cleveland firefighter, that takes effect New Year’s Day.

While most of the hundreds of measures passed annually by the General Assembly take effect immediately or on July 1, the “James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act” is among 23 measures becoming law Jan. 1.

Samples was a Cleveland Fire Department captain. He took his own life Dec. 11, 2020, following a yearslong mental health and financial struggle with PTSD, according to his widow, Jennifer Samples, and Samples’ colleagues.

Under Public Chapter 465, if a firefighter is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a mental health professional as a result of responding to one or more incidents outlined in the law, then the injury is presumed to have occurred in the line of duty and is compensable under the workers’ compensation law.

(c)2023 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Visit the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.