Bill Filed to Protect Firefighters Diagnosed with Cancer

Raleigh, NC:  Today, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) filed a bill that will help relieve some of the burdens that firefighters face once they have been diagnosed with nine work related cancers. Co- Sponsored by Majority Leader John Bell (R-Green/Johnston/Wayne), Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), and Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-Pitt), HB 520 Firefighters Fighting Cancer Act will eliminate the long process that currently takes place for a firefighter to receive worker’s compensation for their diagnosis. Instead, the men and women who boldly put their lives on the line for our society are more quickly given worker’s compensation for cancers that disproportionately affect firefighters.

Chairman Lewis offered the following statement “if these brave men and women are willing to storm into our homes to protect North Carolinians and our property, then we should be protecting them from the dangers that their jobs pose. The medical statistics have made it clear that we need to be doing more to help, and I think this bill will alleviate the financial burden placed on firefighters and their families after a diagnosis.”

The nine cancers that would be presumed for the sake of worker’s compensation are esophageal,intestinal, rectal, testicular, brain, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, mesothelioma, and oral cavity. These particular cancers are chosen as they, in a rather drastic manner, disproportionately affect the men and women who serve as firefighters.

Majority Leader Bell offered the following statement: “firefighting is a particularly hazardous occupation where those employed in this industry are drastically more likely to be affected by a wide variety of health issues, both during their career and long after they retire. While I pray that the day never comes where a firefighter hears they have cancer, this bill will ensure that they are taken care of and looked after.