On June 9, 2004, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly committees approved a bill that would require staff at facilities which care for disabled individuals to dial 911 when there’s a life-threatening emergency — or face hefty fines.

The bill requires staff at facilities that serve people with a traumatic brain injury or a developmental disability to call 911 in what a reasonable person would deem a life-threatening emergency. The facility also must report the call to the Department of Human Services, which will keep an annual record of the calls.

Violators would pay a $5,000 fine for the first offense, $10,000 for the second offense and $25,000 for every subsequent offense.

The bill grew out of recent cases in New Jersey where disabled people died after the staff at their facilities did not call 911 for assistance.

This bill should be up for vote soon, and I will post follow-up information once I have it.