Va. bills passed to prevent firefighter cancer
The bills were signed in honor of firefighter Victor Breeden, who lost his battle with cancer that he got from inhaling dangerous toxins
By FireRescue1 Staff
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. — Two bills were passed by Virginia state legislators to prevent firefighter cancer.
CBS19 reported that one bill will provide cancer-preventing training and gear, and another calls for data collection that will evaluate the link between cancer and fire exposure.
The bills were signed in honor of Kents Store Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Victor Breeden, who lost his battle with cancer that he got from inhaling dangerous toxins.
KSVFD Chief Andrew Pullen said he never thought he would be fighting for state legislation, but Breeden’s death changed everything.
"Your goal as a leader has to be, and this is what I've learned, to take care of your people first, and then they will take care of you," he said.
Breeden’s medical bills were not covered when he was alive because “his cancer was not covered by the presumptive illness legislation,” according to Chief Pullen.
That’s when Pullen said he began working with legislators to protect other firefighters from getting cancer.
"We’ve got to take care of those who take care of us and this is obviously a result of exposure, multiple exposures in some sense to some of the things that are burning up in today's houses and cars," Senator Bryce Reeves, who helped push for the bills to be passed, said.
"These folks are the backbone of our society," Senator Mark Peake, who also advocated for the bills, said. "They volunteer their time to protect others. And we need to do what we can as a general assembly and state legislature to protect them."