Firefighters denied benefits they deserve
The number of firefighters diagnosed with job related illnesses has continued to increase at an alarming rate over the past decade. Even more disturbing is the number of firefighters who are being denied the benefits they deserve because they neglect to document work related exposures.
According to the latest NFPA statistics available, in 2004 firefighters responded to more than 1.5 million fires, 14.1 million medical calls and 354,000 hazardous materials incidents. Each of these incidents put emergency personnel at extreme risk for exposure to carcinogens, air borne pathogens, blood borne diseases and hazardous chemicals. These work related exposures significantly increase the risk of contracting various types of cancers, heart disease, pulmonary disease and communicable diseases. Too often these exposures are taken for granted because they may show little or no immediate effect. Regardless of severity or frequency, these exposures take their toll.
Worker's compensation laws and presumptive legislation entitle firefighters to a variety of benefits including payment of medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, medical retirement, death benefits and survivor benefits for spouses and children. Recently several States in the US and several Canadian Provinces have focused their attention on creating or bettering these presumptive laws after firefighterís claims were being denied. Relying on these laws is not enough. Firefighters must protect themselves by documenting and archiving their exposures. With their record of exposures firefighters can prove that their illness is work related in order to receive the benefits they deserve.
Everything firefighters do throughout the course of their day is documented. Who is on duty, what unit they are assigned to, what calls they respond to, what actions they take, what occurs at the station and much, much more. Why then are firefighters failing to document their work related exposures? Part of the problem may be the process required by an employer to document an exposure. Many departments only have a process in place to report a medical exposure. Exposures to carcinogens and other toxins are often times considered unreportable. The length of time it takes to fill out pages of paperwork to document an exposure often discourages firefighters.
Fortunately there is a way for firefighters to quickly and easily report any type of exposure, independent of any paperwork they may file with an employer.
Report Exposures, LLC. offers the only online exposure reporting and archiving service for Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, and EMS personnel in the United States and Canada. Membership is available to individuals and to entire associations. Users of the service can login to record exposures at their own discretion, hassle free.
Firefighters are required to take risks. Itís part of the job. There is one risk you should never take. When it comes to receiving benefits for a work related illness, donít suffer the risk of being denied the benefits you deserve. Start protecting your future and your familyís future today by reporting your exposures. To learn more about exposure reporting visit http://www.reportexposures.com/