HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed a bill into law Tuesday to set up a fund that provides private assistance to first responders who were traumatized after the Sandy Hook massacre.

House Minority Speaker Larry Cafero was among lawmakers who came up with the idea of compensating police, firefighters, teachers and others on the scene following the shootings.

Cafero said the money for the Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund is raised privately through citizens and corporations.

“It’s not the be all and end all, but it’ll help those first responders through a very difficult time,” he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

Malloy said treatment for a psychological injury not related to a physical injury is not typically covered under traditional health plans.

But he said the privately raised funds will be critical to those on the scene who were traumatized by what they saw at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

“The trauma is being felt and will be experienced for a period of time. So there may be people – the volunteer firemen or state troopers or police officers – who may experience a year from now or two years from now difficulties in their lives,” Malloy told Schneidau. “Some of them are in situations where they might not get the help they need relying on tradition methods or policies and so we’re setting up this fund. We’ll raise money in it and we’ll make sure that we do our best to take care of our people.”

Following the shooting rampage that left 20 first graders and six educators dead, lawmakers asked those first on the scene at the Newtown school what they could do to help.

Cafero said the private fundraising idea came from the first responders themselves.

The fund is being overseen by the state Office of Victim Services. Cafero and others involved in the effort say the response from those desperately needing a helping hand has been heartwarming.

The bill passed the Connecticut legislature unanimously to approve the measure.

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