ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona firefighters plead with lawmakers to extend protections for first responders

Apr 28, 2017, 7:04 PM | Updated: 8:43 pm
(Beatriz Valenzuela/The Sun via AP)...
(Beatriz Valenzuela/The Sun via AP)
(Beatriz Valenzuela/The Sun via AP)
LISTEN: Gilbert Aguirre & Stephen Gilman, Goodyear Firefighters

PHOENIX — Firefighters are pleading with members of the Arizona Legislature to vote on a series of bills that would extend protections for first responders.

In Arizona, if a firefighter develops one of seven types of cancer, state law assumes the disease was caused by his or her job. That means the firefighter is eligible for workers’ compensation.

The only cancers covered are brain, bladder, rectal/colon cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and mesothelioma of the respiratory tract.

But H.B. 2161 and 2410 would extend workers’ compensation for first responders who are diagnosed with various work-related diseases and injuries.

The bills were introduced to the Arizona House earlier this year and were sent to the Senate in February.

They have been heard by two Senate committees and the majority and minority caucuses, but Senate President Steve Yarbrough has not brought the bills to the floor for a vote.

Bryan Jeffries, the president of Professional Firefighters of Arizona, told KTAR’s Mac and Gaydos that Arizona firefighters are fighting an “epidemic” while the Legislature sits “on its hands.”

“Over the past 15 years, cancer rates amongst firefighters have been skyrocketing,” Jeffries said.

“If you think about it, everything around you — in history, they were all made of wood or natural textiles,” he added. “Today, everything is made of synthetics. When those chemicals burn, they put out chemicals that absorbs through our skin, through our helmets, and it’s causing cancer rates to go through the roof.”

While some firefighters die on the job, Jeffries said, “many firefighters die with their boots off, in hospital beds with their families around, while suffering from horrible diseases from [chemical] exposure.”

“We know the cause and effect of what chemicals do to these guys,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said his fellow firefighter friends have been repeatedly denied for health care coverage and cannot get treated for diseases and illnesses caught while on the job.

“Minutes are clicking away,” Jeffries said. “We’re just asking for our day. Let [the] Legislators make the decision, but my God, just put it to the floor for a vote. They’ve been sitting on it for weeks now.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Stage 2 fire restrictions set to begin this week across Arizona due to wildfire threat

Stage 2 fire restrictions are set to begin across Arizona this week due to heightened wildfire activity and dry conditions, officials said.
1 day ago
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Arizona appeals court says ban on per-signature initiative is illegal

A 2017 law that makes it a crime to pay people for each signature they collect to qualify voter initiatives for the ballot violates the First Amendment and the first criminal case filed using the law must be dismissed, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Suspect in custody after allegedly exchanging gunfire with Phoenix police

A suspect was in custody after allegedly exchanging gunfire with police in north Phoenix on Tuesday, authorities said.
1 day ago
Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 2...
KTAR.com

Arizona politicians react to mass shooting at elementary school in Texas

Arizona politicians reacted Tuesday to a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two adults dead. 
1 day ago
FILE - Water drips from a faucet near boat docks sitting on dry land at the Browns Ravine Cove area...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How cities in the West have water amid drought

Major Western cities like Phoenix have diversified water sources and boosted supplies through infrastructure investments and conservation.
1 day ago
(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Lines)...
Danny Shapiro

Yuma border migrant backlog an ongoing problem despite Title 42 extension, official says

Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines said the border community continues to deal with an influx of migrants that want to come to the U.S.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]
...
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
Arizona firefighters plead with lawmakers to extend protections for first responders