By: James R. Spears
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Firefighter Cancer Bills filed in the Florida House and Senate
The battle continues to get legislation on the books to protect Florida’s firefighters who develop cancer due to exposure to cancer causing agents at work. House Bill 695 was filed on November 14, 2017. Senate Bill 900 was filed the following day on November 15, 2017. Both bills seek to require Employers of firefighters who develop cancer to provide certain medical and monetary coverage and benefits.
There is increasing data showing a direct and clear link between fire service and the development of cancer. And the statistics are staggering. More than 60 percent of deaths for active firefighters from 2002 to 2016 were from cancer. Seventy percent of firefighter deaths in 2016 were attributed to cancer. Firefighters also have a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the rest of the population. A simple internet search will yield hundreds of stories of firefighters who had died far too young due to cancer. Firefighters are exposed to countless known and unknown carcinogens when responding to emergency calls. While awareness and protections are increasing, there is likely no way to ever completely prevent these exposures. And, for the firefighters who are later in their careers, or retired, the awareness and protections have come too late.
Florida’s firefighters deserve to be cared for by their employers when they develop cancer. Please contact your local congressman and senator and ask them to support this important legislation.
Link to House Bill 695: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/695/BillText/Filed/PDF
Link to Senate Bill 900: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/900/BillText/__/HTML
Cancer Rates are Rising Among Firefighters: https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/cancer-rates-are-rising-among-firefighters-research-shows-1079773763889
Need help? Contact:
James R. Spears, Esquire
Florida Bar Board Certified – Workers’ Compensation
Firefighters’ Council of Central Florida Building
4005 North Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Florida 32804
Phone: (407) 691-0300
Fax: (407) 667-8900
Toll Free – (888) 487-7488