Governor signs law to help firefighters

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Governor James Douglas has signed a
bill that would financially protect firefighters who suffer heart
attacks in the line of duty.
The law ensures that professional firefighters receive workers'
compensation - or their families receive death benefits should they
die.
Until now, firefighters who suffered a heart attack, stroke or
other heart-related illness while answering an emergency were
forced to prove their illness was job related if insurance
companies contested their claim.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, gives firefighters
the benefit of the doubt.
The measure was prompted by the 2002 death of Whiting Fire Chief
Clarence Birchmore, who suffered a heart attack while responding to
a car accident.


(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)