The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps is one of five volunteer fire and ambulance corps that operate in the 15th Senatorial District.
By Forum Staff
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a bill that will provide new healthcare and death benefits to volunteer firefighters who are diagnosed with a variety of cancers, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), one of the legislation’s co-sponsors, noted on Thursday.
Volunteer firefighters currently are able to apply for accidental disability and death benefits through Worker’s Compensation law if they are injured in the line of duty. Under this new law, which goes into effect in January 2019, certain volunteer firefighters will also be eligible for benefits to treat a variety of cancers, including lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive system, or melanoma cancers. Death benefits associated with cancers will also be available.
According to Addabbo, to be eligible for the benefits volunteer firefighters must have shown no signs of the disease, after undergoing a physical exam, upon joining the fire company. They must also have served with the company for at least five years fighting fires in building interiors, and can claim benefits only if they are currently active or within five years of their last service. Qualified firefighters diagnosed with cancer will be eligible for a $25,000 lump sum payment, depending on the diagnosis. Those disabled owing to cancer could also receive up to $1,500 a month for 36 months and a death benefit of $50,000.
“This legislation builds upon the State’s existing Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law and may provide significant peace of mind and financial support for brave men and women who develop cancer after devoting years of their lives to protecting our communities from fire,” Addabbo said. “Our vollies
routinely make selfless decisions to give of themselves to all of us in our times of greatest need, and they deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.”
Addabbo noted that when deciding to support the bill he thought of the members of the five volunteer fire and ambulance corps that operate in the 15th Senatorial District.