According to the International Association of Firefighters, 76% of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in 2018 were caused by cancer. The increase in job related-illnesses has caused Mississippi firefighters to take action with senate bill 28-35.
News 25’s Andrew Scherer has our report.
Ryker Haselden, a Gulfport fireman says “It’s an adrenaline rush because we’re there because someone is having their worst day.”
First responders risk their lives every day to help those in need… But when they need help, do they get it?
The Mississippi first responder health and safety act has made its way through the state senate. Now it awaits approval from the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan says, “What it basically says is it’s the presumptive bill that if a firefighter is diagnosed with cancer, that firefighter is presumed to have gotten the cancer from working in this industry.”
The Act would cover all job-related illnesses for police officers and firefighters. Mississippi is one of three states in the United States to have no legislation protecting first-responders.
“We’re trying to make sure that the younger firefighters coming in that them and their families know that they’re going to be protected when they put a lifetime in or a career in,” says Sullivan.
Managing a serious illness without any compensation is a tough task, one that Harrison County and Gulfport fireman Ryker Haselden had to face first-hand.
“Being diagnosed with cancer myself a few years ago, knowing the financial burdens that that imposed on my family,” says Haselden.
The Act will not just cover cancer, but also heart and lung diseases, and hearing loss.
In Harrison county, Andrew Scherer, News 25.