Fla. bill recognizes cancer as job-related injury
Senate Bill 426 provides health benefits to firefighters diagnosed with cancer
By FireRescue1 Staff
TAMPA, Fla. — Florida legislators passed a bill that provides several health benefits to firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Senate Bill 426 recognizes a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis or death as a job-related injury. It covers the total cost of treatment, a $25,000 payout, disability pay and death benefits for beneficiaries, News Channel 8 reports.
“Back in the day, firefighters use to wear it as a badge of honor, that their bunker gear and turnout gear was dirty and smokey and had soot on it,” said Travis Horn, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Firefighters Union. “Nowadays, they know leaving it on there and letting it touch your skin can activate some of these cancers. We don’t want to have firefighters fight to have to get their benefits and this is opening the door to ensure they don’t have to fight.”
Horn has long advocated to see such benefits offered to firefighters. His two brothers served with the Orlando Fire Department. Lt. Michael Wayne Horn lost his battle to Melanoma in 2012, and Horn’s other brother, Lt. James Faron Horn, is battling Spindle cell sarcoma.
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) officials said that cancer is now the leading cause of death for firefighters.