West Palm Beach, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) - At a press conference at Palm Beach Fire Rescue Station 23, Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis announced he will fight to increase benefits for firefighters who are diagnosed with cancers connected with their job and PTSD.
“Our firefighters serve us every day as fearless first responders. We've seen this time and time again from their tireless service during this year's hurricanes and wildfires to the horrific events of the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “We have a responsibility to take care of our firefighter community the way they selflessly take care of us. Increasing benefits for firefighters with certain cancer diagnoses and PTSD is a top priority for my office.”
This legislative session, CFO Patronis will push to change Florida law so firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer and PTSD receive the benefits and treatment they, and their family, deserve.
Over the next several weeks, CFO Patronis will tour the state meeting with firefighters and their families to learn first-hand how these issues have impacted them, and learn their top concerns. This week, he will be heading to Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.
CFO Patronis added, “Anytime you have a health concern, you seek treatment. If diagnosed with cancer or any mental health issue in the line of duty, our firefighters must get the treatment they need without enormous costs.”
Many cancers in firefighters are linked to the long-term risks from smoke inhalation and exposure to certain chemicals. University of Miami's (UM) Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center's Firefighter Cancer Initiative is studying firefighters' exposure to carcinogens and their risks for developing cancer. By identifying specific hazards that lead to the stunning rate of cancer diagnoses in firefighters, Florida can better protect those who protect the state.
A 2015 Florida State University (FSU) study found that more than 15 percent of firefighters reported having made at least one suicide attempt during their time in the fire service, with 46 percent of firefighters reported having thought about suicide.
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