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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Firefighters & Cancer

    CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - Prince Edward Island's fire marshal is
    lobbying for legislation that guarantees workers compensation to
    all Island firefighters who develop cancer.
    Dave Blacquiere said the risk of some types of cancer is higher
    for firefighters.
    Manitoba and Alberta have legislation which says full-time
    firefighters with a certain number of years of service can get
    compensation.
    However, it does not apply to volunteer firefighters.
    Legislators in Nova Scotia are also considering a bill which
    guarantees benefits to all firefighters.
    Blacquiere said P.E.I. may be able to attract more volunteer
    firefighters if it had similar laws.
    The fire marshal said he's already discussed the idea with the
    compensation board, and is hoping members of the legislative
    assembly give the idea serious consideration.


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  2. #2
    Rabble rouser Kobersteen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Similar (passed) legislation in Virginia

    CHAPTER 737
    An Act to amend and reenact § 65.2-402 of the Code of Virginia, relating to workers' compensation; occupational disease.
    [H 1237]
    Approved April 6, 2002



    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That § 65.2-402 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

    § 65.2-402. Presumption as to death or disability from respiratory disease, hypertension or heart disease, cancer.

    A. Respiratory diseases that cause (i) the death of volunteer or salaried firefighters or Department of Emergency Management hazardous materials officers or (ii) any health condition or impairment of such firefighters or Department of Emergency Management hazardous materials officers resulting in total or partial disability shall be presumed to be occupational diseases, suffered in the line of duty, that are covered by this title unless such presumption is overcome by a preponderance of competent evidence to the contrary.

    B. Hypertension or heart disease causing the death of, or any health condition or impairment resulting in total or partial disability of (i) salaried or volunteer firefighters, (ii) members of the State Police Officers' Retirement System, (iii) members of county, city or town police departments, (iv) sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, (v) Department of Emergency Management hazardous materials officers, (vi) city sergeants or deputy city sergeants of the City of Richmond, (vii) Virginia Marine Patrol officers, (viii) game wardens who are full-time sworn members of the enforcement division of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, (ix) Capitol Police officers, and (x) special agents of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control appointed under the provisions of Chapter 1 (§ 4.1-100 et seq.) of Title 4.1 shall be presumed to be occupational diseases, suffered in the line of duty, that are covered by this title unless such presumption is overcome by a preponderance of competent evidence to the contrary.

    C. Leukemia or pancreatic, prostate, rectal, throat, ovarian or breast cancer causing the death of, or any health condition or impairment resulting in total or partial disability of, any volunteer or salaried firefighter or, Department of Emergency Management hazardous materials officer, commercial vehicle enforcement officer or motor carrier safety trooper employed by the Department of State Police, or full-time sworn member of the enforcement division of the Department of Motor Vehicles having completed twelve years of continuous service who has a contact with a toxic substance encountered in the line of duty shall be presumed to be an occupational disease, suffered in the line of duty, that is covered by this title, unless such presumption is overcome by a preponderance of competent evidence to the contrary. For the purposes of this section, a "toxic substance" is one which is a known or suspected carcinogen, as defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and which causes, or is suspected to cause, leukemia or pancreatic, prostate, rectal, throat, ovarian or breast cancer.

    D. The presumptions described in subsections A, B, and C of this section shall only apply if persons entitled to invoke them have, if requested by the private employer, appointing authority or governing body employing them, undergone preemployment physical examinations that (i) were conducted prior to the making of any claims under this title that rely on such presumptions, (ii) were performed by physicians whose qualifications are as prescribed by the private employer, appointing authority or governing body employing such persons, (iii) included such appropriate laboratory and other diagnostic studies as the private employer, appointing authorities or governing bodies may have prescribed, and (iv) found such persons free of respiratory diseases, hypertension, cancer or heart disease at the time of such examinations.

    E. Persons making claims under this title who rely on such presumptions shall, upon the request of private employers, appointing authorities or governing bodies employing such persons, submit to physical examinations (i) conducted by physicians selected by such employers, authorities, bodies or their representatives and (ii) consisting of such tests and studies as may reasonably be required by such physicians. However, a qualified physician, selected and compensated by the claimant, may, at the election of such claimant, be present at such examination.

    F. Whenever a claim for death benefits is made under this title and the presumptions of this section are invoked, any person entitled to make such claim shall, upon the request of the appropriate private employer, appointing authority or governing body that had employed the deceased, submit the body of the deceased to a postmortem examination as may be directed by the Commission. A qualified physician, selected and compensated by the person entitled to make the claim, may, at the election of such claimant, be present at such postmortem examination.

    G. Volunteer lifesaving and rescue squad members, volunteer law-enforcement chaplains, auxiliary and reserve deputy sheriffs, and auxiliary and reserve police are not included within the coverage of this section.

    H. For purposes of this section, the term "firefighter" shall include special forest wardens designated pursuant to § 10.1-1135 and any persons who are employed by or contract with private employers primarily to perform firefighting services.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  3. #3
    Forum Member mtwaites's Avatar
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    Question Cancer!

    Yeah, I know that the risk of getting thing like lung cancer are higher in the fire service, because of the smoke etc., that gets into the lungs. This is a point that a lot of other people don't understand. A lot of people don't understand that the risk to these dedicated people who work at saving lives, also have problems too. I obviously despise the risk of them getting cancer, but do cheer them on with the fact, that they put their lives on the line to make the other people's lives better... Way to go guys!
    Firefighters are beneficial to every community with the wealth of information they have!

    They don't get enough praise, for the information and skills they know! It could save your life one day!!!!!

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default

    I think it is only a matter of time before this type of coverage is legislated in everywhere. A lot of firefighters have won these types of claims in other parts of Canada as well.

    Studies have shown that on average a career FF lives 4-6 years less than the general population. It is pretty obvious there are long term health issues with the profession.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber Airborne's Avatar
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    Default

    Playing the part of the Devils Advocate, With SCBA, one should never be exposed to these things during Fire operations. SCBA should be manditory at all times at a Fire Or Hazmat Sceen.

    Also There are added expenses with this type of legislation, thouse making it more expensive for communities to have Fire Protection. The money to treat has to come from somwhere.

    Please do not take this as if I'm against it, I have no opinion at this point because I don't know enough about this subject, just taking a look at it from another view.

  6. #6
    Forum Member weir33's Avatar
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    Default

    There is a big difference between being covered by workmans comp and filing a sucessful claim, Notwith standing its about time the dangers are being recognized,better science is leading to better understanding of causes of illnesses

    AIRBOURNE the dangers of poisoning are slow and long term you don't have to choke on smoke to build up toxins,whens the last time you wore a BA on a chimney fire up on the roof or at a forest fire when the wind changed or even during investigation after the fact. Toxins are released for days from the combustionables after a fire there is no way to remove all the dangers just be aware and protect yourself when you can. Stay low stay safe
    J.B.WEIR
    Summerville Vol Fire Dept
    Pride In Service !

  7. #7
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    Default

    In the last year, our department, in cooperation with Alberta Environment, built an air monitoring unit which can track smoke plumes from fires and analyze the contents of it. At a few of our recent fires there were high concentrations of carcinogens which are not only hazardous by inhalation but through skin absorption aswell.
    Even out on the street the particulates settling out of the smoke were in concentrations far higher than allowable limits. Hopefully with more data like this we can take more proactive measures to protect firefighters and we won't need the legislation.

    There is also still a hazard present when we are riding back to the station in a truck with contaminated gear which was just worn at a fire. Small exposures like these over a career are what can sneak up on us.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

  8. #8
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Update

    HALIFAX (CP) - Firefighters diagnosed with job-related cancer
    after 1993 will get compensation from the Nova Scotia government
    after all.
    Over the weekend, the government agreed to amend its proposed
    law so that firefighters already suffering one of six types of
    work-related cancer can get money from the Workers' Compensation
    Board.
    Legislature members will debate the revised bill this week.
    "That's fantastic news," former Halifax West fire captain Gary
    Harris said Monday when told the news.
    Harris, 49, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997 and has been on
    long-term disability leave since his bone marrow transplant in
    1998.
    He made an emotional appeal to the government last Wednesday,
    saying a lack of retroactivity discriminated against him and others
    already diagnosed with cancer.
    Harris, a firefighter for 23 years, paid into workers'
    compensation for 20 years. When he left, the Halifax regional fire
    service had opted out of it in favour of a private insurance plan,
    so he's not sure if he'll get more money.
    But he said it'll help the province's 560 paid and 7,500
    volunteer firefighters outside Halifax, who have nothing else to
    fall back on.
    "If it can help somebody, great. If it can help me, that's fine
    too," Harris said.
    Mo Cannon, a 32-year Halifax firefighter who was diagnosed with
    liver cancer two years after his 1994 retirement, believes he's
    eligible for the money.
    "It's sure going to help. Every little bit helps," Cannon
    said, but added he wishes there was no retroactivity limit.
    "It's too bad they can't do it for everybody."
    The cancer rate among firefighters is three times higher than in
    the rest of the population. Most of the cancers, as well as other
    diseases, have been linked to plastics and other chemical-based
    products released into the air during a fire.
    Chris Camp, a Halifax firefighter and union representative, said
    the retroactivity clause will mean a lot, even to firefighters who
    won't get any money from it.
    "Even though they may not get money, (there's) the recognition
    that something happened to them at their workplace," he said.
    Last week, the NDP threatened to hold up debate on other
    government bills, including a politically important bill that would
    temporarily freeze insurance rates, in order to win retroactivity.
    The two sides reached an agreement Saturday.
    "I think cooler heads prevailed," said Cape Breton Centre
    legislature member Frank Corbett.
    It's not clear how many firefighters could claim retroactive
    benefits.
    Camp said there are about six Halifax firefighters who might,
    and one who has since died of cancer.
    Government spokesman Rob Batherson said he's not certain how
    much the move will cost the province, but said it tried to reach an
    affordable solution. (Halifax Daily News)


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  9. #9
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post

    HALIFAX (CP) - It will cost about $5 million to extend benefits
    to firefighters with cancer in Nova Scotia, the house leader said
    Tuesday.
    Ron Russell said the cost would not appear on the government's
    balance sheet, but will add to the unfunded liability of the
    Workers' Compensation Board.
    "With every change, of course, you do have an impact on the
    unfunded liability and there will probably be a small increase,"
    he said Tuesday.
    The unfunded liability is the amount of money the board expects
    to pay out over a number of years.
    Over the weekend, the government agreed to amend its proposed
    law so that firefighters already suffering one of six types of
    work-related cancer can get money from the Workers' Compensation
    Board.
    Legislature members will debate the revised bill this week.
    The Tory government hadn't intended to make the benefits
    retroactive.
    Last week, the NDP threatened to hold up debate on other
    government bills, including the politically important freeze on car
    insurance rates, in order to win retroactivity.
    "That's fantastic news," former Halifax West fire captain Gary
    Harris said Monday when told the news.
    Harris, 49, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997 and has been on
    long-term disability leave since his bone marrow transplant in
    1998.
    It's not clear how many firefighters could claim retroactive
    benefits.
    Harris said it'll help the province's 560 paid and 7,500
    volunteer firefighters outside Halifax, who have nothing else to
    fall back on.
    The cancer rate among firefighters is three times higher than in
    the rest of the population. Most of the cancers, as well as other
    diseases, have been linked to plastics and other chemical-based
    products released into the air during a fire.



    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 05-20-03 1252EDT
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  10. #10
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post PEI

    SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. (CP) - The P.E.I. fire marshal hopes Nova
    Scotia legislation that guarantees compensation for firefighters
    who develop certain types of cancer will lead to a similar law on
    the Island.
    Dave Blacquiere said he's been meeting with the P.E.I. Worker's
    Compensation Board to inform them of developments in other
    provinces.
    He said the most encouraging aspect of the Nova Scotia
    legislation is that it includes volunteer firefighters.
    "Paid firefighters and volunteers are no different," said
    Blacquiere. "If you respond to a tire fire as a paid firefighter
    or as a volunteer and are exposed to the same toxic chemicals, you
    can still get a cancer."
    Under the bill, firefighters in Nova Scotia who develop certain
    forms of cancers that occur more often in firefighters will be
    looked after by the Worker's Compensation Act. Because cancer of
    the brain, bladder and kidney, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia
    occur three times more often in firefighters than in the general
    population, they can already receive compensation for those
    diseases, but only after an investigation by the Worker's
    Compensation Board.
    The new bill makes a presumption of compensation. Now
    firefighters or former firefighters who claim to have one of the
    five specific kinds of cancer will receive immediate compensation
    instead of waiting one or two years for the claim to be
    investigated. The person must have been a firefighter for a
    specific number of years for each type of cancer before they
    qualify for immediate compensation.
    The P.E.I. firefighting force is 99.6 per cent volunteer.
    Garth O'Brien, president of the P.E.I. Firefighters Association,
    said the risk of disease is a concern to firefighters.
    "No one wants to get sick," he said. "If we're doing
    something on a volunteer basis and it's jeopardizing our lives,
    it's pretty scary." (Summerside Journal-Pioneer)



    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  11. #11
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    Well it wont gaurantee it, but it along with the other Legislative presumption clauses around the country will make it an easier sell. Here in Newfoundland we are trying to change Workers Comp Policy rather then go the Legislation route, there are many industrial diseases already identified, it is simply a matter of adding to them, or so we hope.

    You can keep abreast of developments here:
    http://pub39.ezboard.com/fcanadianfirefighterfrm12
    Last edited by Smoke20286; 05-30-2003 at 10:27 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Member CAPN22's Avatar
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    I just recently attended a WCB conferance with our Fire Chiefs Assoc. It is now set up that if a full time fire fighter has one of the 7 cancers identified in the new standard it is an automatic rubber stamp. No review committies nothing, It's automatically approved.

    For us vollies it is of great assistance also. As in discussion with the board, vollies would most likely be treated the same. It's not a rubber stamp but it will really speed the process.

    We also learned that as a volly we are covered from the time our tones ring out to the time we return home. One little twist is that we coverage if we are a home only start once we our outside our residence. So if you trip over the dog laying in the Hallway your not covered. However if hit that patch of ice while running for the vehicle you would be covered. It was ruled that we are on the clock as soon as the tones ring out and as such our coverage would start at that time.

    The legislation will be reopened agiain in 3 years to allow for the addition of addition alilments and hopefully a rubber stamp ruling for vollies also.

    Take care.

  13. #13
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Thumbs up compensation

    I'm all in favor of this concept providing there is a clause regarding tobacco use at any point in the firefighter's lifetime. To me, all liability becomes null & void when people willfully destroy themselves.


    ~Kevin
    FF/Paramedic

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