After more than 12 years of hard work to move fire fighter presumptive cancer legislation through the state House, the Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters Association (KPFF) is finally seeing progress.
Having passed the Senate and House unanimously and now awaiting Governor Matt Bevin’s signature, Senate Bill 195 will give families of fire fighters who die from certain cancers a line-of-duty death benefit.
“After all this time, we are excited to get something on the state books,” says Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters President Joe Baer.
Retired Battalion Chief David McCrady – who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013, forcing him to retire – has worked tirelessly to get this bill passed.
“I found out I had cancer just before the first round of legislation,” McCrady told ABC’s WTVQ. “I knew I wouldn’t just be helping myself. I’d be helping the guys coming on after me.” Brother McCrady has continued to teach a Kentucky Fire Commission cancer awareness course to fire fighters throughout his illness.
Although the bill remains a win for members and their families in Kentucky, the fight is not over. Currently, Kentucky does not recognize certain cancers as occupational illnesses for fire fighters, and it is a fight that President Baer and the KPFF are ready to take on in the next legislative session.
“This bill did not include everything we wanted, but it’s a start and we are confident that we will be able to expand on this to get presumptive cancers covered,” says Baer.