Firefighters look at danger straight in the eye and run to it. But while their exposure to heat, carcinogens and harmful chemicals can save lives, it can cost theirs.
In recognition of their selfless service, Connecticut announced that a newly passed legislation would help firefighters receive workers’ compensation relief benefits for developing cancer on the job.
How to qualify
Going to effect by October 1 this year, the law operates on the rebuttable presumption that a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis resulted from work hazards they endured during the course of their employment. Unless proven otherwise, the goal of the law is to aid them in having their workers’ compensation claims approved.
Applicants – uniformed members, volunteers, inspectors, investigators or marshals from different classes – must at least be five years into the job and undergo medical screenings yearly to be eligible for benefits.
Other requirements to qualify include:
- A cancer diagnosis (brain, blood, respiratory, skeletal, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, lymphatic and urinary)
- Nonsmoker (cigarettes or tobacco products) for the last 15 years prior to the diagnosis
- Physical examination when they accepted the job, revealing that they do not have or have a tendency to contract cancer
Depending on the circumstances of the case, firefighters must also have clear and compelling evidence proving these factors. They must also establish that they adhered to wearing protective gear per industry standards.
How the law adds protection
Firefighters often put others’ safety above their own. This new state law allows them and their families more protection. When they suffer occupational illnesses, like cancer, they must not think twice about seeking legal counsel the way they would when running into the fire.