Firefighters provide an essential and often life-saving service to the
Pennsylvania communities they serve. Not only is it dangerous work, but
frequent exposure to smoke can severely damage firefighters' health
in both the short and long run. Studies have shown that firefighters are
at a greater risk of contracting types of cancer caused by carcinogen
exposure. A recent piece of legislation that designates cancer as an occupational
disease for both volunteer and career firefighters will entitle them to
workers' compensation if they develop certain kinds of cancer.
House Bill 797, sponsored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), was recently passed
by the state General Assembly. It now awaits the governor's signature.
The bill entitles firefighters to workers' compensation if they develop
the types of cancer brought on by the carcinogens found in smoke. The
legislation will make it easier for firefighters to claim workers'
compensation if they contract cancer as a result of this exposure. They
will no longer have to prove that their cancer was caused by working conditions
before making a claim.
The president of The Firemen's Association of the State of Pennsylvania
released a statement on behalf of firefighters in the state. He expressed
gratitude to the state legislature for introducing the measure. Statistics
show that more firefighters are killed by cancer than from fire-related
injuries, so huge numbers of firefighters will potentially be covered
by the legislative changes.
Developing cancer can be very overwhelming, especially if the condition
was brought on by working conditions. The legislative change would acknowledge
the risk that these brave men and women take on every time they respond
to a fire, and could also help firefighters who have already contracted
cancer. Anyone who believes that they could be entitled to workers'
compensation may benefit from legal advice while considering making a
claim, to ensure that they are treated fairly.
Source: Berks-Mont News, "FASP Applauds Passage of Firefighter Cancer Presumption
Bill," Firemen's Association, 29 June 2011.