Firefighters behind 2 bills seeking expanded insurance coverage

Local News

The Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada represents more than 2,500 fire fighters throughout the state and also advocates for the welfare of them in the legislative sessions.

This session they are working to protect those who have developed cancer or post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of years of fighting fires.

With an increasing number of fire fighters being diagnosed with cancer the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada introduced Senate Bill 215 which suggests that legislators revise provisions relating to occupational cancer.

In addition, the group is also adding Assembly Bill 492 which is a bill that will ensure that post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by a first responder as a result of their occupation, be covered by insurance. 

“We’re helping our members get healthier so that they can serve our public better,” said Cory Whitlock, southern district vice president, PFFN.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada are currently pushing the two bills to ensure benefits, wages, and working conditions are safe.

Whitlock says they are at tremendous risk for PTSD. AB 492 would ensure they are insured.

“The general population can have up to one traumatic event in their lifetime. Maybe our members go to work and experience up to four of those traumatic events in one shift,” Whitlock said.

Whether the amount of stress is big or small, they’ve been impacted with what they’ve seen.

“October 1 that put a tremendous strain on a lot of our members and a lot of our members are seeking help but there’s no concrete revised statue that lays out the direct plan,” he said.

They are also looking to expand the list of cancers that are presumptively approved due to occupational exposure — specifically with females, under Senate Bill 215.

“With this bill what we’re hoping to do is to include fire arson investigators under the language,” said Linda Poe, fire arson investigator for Clark County.

“Traditionally firefighter jobs were male dominated and we have a lot of females now that are fire fighters and the cancers that we can get from the occupation are not presumptive,” said Jennifer Wyatt, vice president, Clark County Local 1908.

Their goal: Change the language so that all are protected equally.

“Support us we’re out there on the lines with everyone else fighting fires and being exposed to these hazards and we shouldn’t also have to fight to have these cancers covered,” Wyatt said.

Whitlock says right now for the city of Las Vegas and across the state they’re slightly understaffed and   working more adds creates more strain for their members.

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