In the minds of many people, it is the fire itself that poses the greatest risk to firefighters. They may also talk about inhalation of smoke and perhaps how the fire will compromise a building’s structural stability.
Those are certainly serious risks that contribute to the likelihood of a firefighter getting hurt or dying at work. However, getting back out of a burning building conscious and seemingly unharmed does not necessarily mean a firefighter has escaped injury.
Large fires often burn materials that produce carcinogenic chemicals, which means that it could be years later before the damage becomes obvious in the form of cancer. If a firefighter in California develops cancer, there are special rules to protect them.
There is a presumption that the work caused the cancer
Researchers believe that a significant number of job-related deaths among firefighters involve cancer. The chemicals these professionals may encounter at work increase their risk of lung, testicular, skin, pancreatic and brain cancers, as well as non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The risk of testicular cancer among firefighters is especially high when compared with that of the general public.
When someone who has worked as a firefighter in California gets diagnosed with cancer, they may have already retired from their career or be close to retirement age. Thankfully, they can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. There is a presumption in California’s labor laws that certain cancers, such as leukemia, are likely the results of a firefighter’s employment.
Therefore, workers’ compensation is almost always available for those affected by such conditions. Workers’ compensation can provide disability benefits and also coverage for potentially expensive cancer treatments. Learning more about when workers’ compensation benefits may cover you and can help if you recently received a diagnosis that you believe really to your employment.