Firefighters & EMS Fund calls for better cancer protection


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Currently, North Carolina firefighters only receive presumptive protection benefits against three types of cancers. This means that there are only three forms of cancer- – that the North Carolina government acknowledges as occupational hazards and cover as guaranteed benefits for firefighters. Firefighters & EMS Fund, a grassroots political organisation, is standing with North Carolina firefighters that are putting pressure on elected officials to pass a House Bill 520 that would label 9 types of cancer as occupational diseases and be covered by health care under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

As of now, North Carolina is the last state in this country without comprehensive cancer coverage for firefighters. Without this coverage, if firefighters get cancer they are left footing the bill themselves. And Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette said cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters. His department lost two firefighters to cancer in the past three years. This is a pervasive risk and safety concern for our firefighters, even after retirement, and it should not drive these men and women into bankruptcy to have their health cared for appropriately.

“The link between these types of cancers and working in the fire industry are well documented and known, and have been for quite some time,” Firefighters & EMS Fund Executive Director Nile Porter commented. “With this clear understanding, it should be common and guaranteed that the state government would acknowledge the danger cancer poses to firefighters and put benefits in place that cover the medical bills.”

“We understand the state wants to save money, but firefighters were owed this protection from day one. It is past time for the elected representatives of North Carolina to step up and provide this basic protection to the heroes that risk their own lives and safety to keep our communities safe,” concluded Mr. Porter.

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