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Presumptive Laws

A presumptive disability law is a law that links a particular occupation with a disease or condition that has been shown to be a hazard associated with that occupation.  As a result of this linkage, if an individual employed in the occupation covered by the presumption contracts a disease or condition that is specified in the presumptive law, then that disease or condition is presumed to have come from that occupation.  In this case, the burden of proof shifts from the employee to the employer to demonstrate that the condition was not in fact associated with the occupation but with another cause.  

In the case of fire fighters and emergency medical responders, scientific evidence has demonstrated an increased risk for heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and infectious diseases.  At this time, most of the U.S. States and Canadian Provinces have some form of presumptive law that applies to fire fighters and emergency response personnel.  These laws vary greatly between different states and provinces.

The IAFF Division of Occupational Health, Safety & Medicine has accumulated a database of the current presumptive disability provisions in the US and Canada.  To view the presumptive disability provision in your state or province, click on the link below then click on your particular state or province. 

US and Canadian Presumptive Laws


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