Fire Service & Congress Pressure Justice Dept. To Process Line-of-Duty-Death Claims

Regrettably, this column has to be another report on the fire service's running battle with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over its failure to properly implement the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act. Many fire organizations are engaged on a...


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But merely speeding up the claims process is not good enough. The outrageous 83% rejection rate has to be turned around, which means the Justice Department's examiners in Hometown Heroes cases have to abandon the doctrine of "routine stress" and realize that there's no such thing in the fire-rescue service. When the alarm sounds, it's never routine and it's always stressful — which is one of the reasons so many firefighters develop cardiovascular disease and why heart attacks and strokes account for more than half of the line-of-duty deaths.