Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation to further protect Arizona’s firefighters and fire investigators by expanding workers’ compensation for diseases presumed to be a result of their job demands and requirements.
Senate Bill (SB) 1451 strengthens the presumption that a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis is work related thereby ensuring that more firefighters are eligible for worker’s compensation and can spend more time focusing on their health and family and less time fighting with cities and insurance companies for their benefits.
This bill also protects female firefighters and fire investigators by adding breast cancer and ovarian cancer to the list of qualifying cancers to ensure that they have access to the same benefits and protections as their male co-workers.
“Firefighters and other first responders dedicate countless hours to protecting our communities and keeping Arizonans safe,” said Governor Ducey. “It’s our job to protect them too. This bill expands protection for diseases acquired through the job, and helps ensure our safety professionals receive the support and resources they need.”
Previously, to qualify for the presumption, a firefighter or peace officer must have passed a physical examination before employment that did not indicate evidence of cancer, been assigned to hazardous duty for at least five years, and documented with the department an exposure to a known carcinogen that is reasonably related to cancer. Firefighters were burdened with identifying exactly when and where they were exposed to a carcinogen that caused their cancer, which is why SB 1451 removes that specific requirement.
“The signing of Senate Bill 1451 is a huge win for Arizona’s firefighters and fire investigators that also includes female cancers,” said Senator Boyer. “They do so much to protect our communities, and I was proud to sponsor legislation that helps protect them. My thanks to Governor Ducey for signing this important bill.”
SB 1451 is supported by various organizations in the state, including: the cities of Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale; the Town of Queen Creek; Professional Firefighters Of Arizona; Arizona Fire Chiefs; Arizona Conference Of Police & Sheriffs; Fraternal Order Of Police (Arizona State Lodge); Arizona State AFL-CIO; League Of Arizona Cities & Towns; and Arizona Coalition For Working Families.