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Title 11 Counties and Municipal Corporations
Chapter 43 Mayor and Council, Other officers, employees, departments etc.
Article 7 Fire Department Compensation for death or disability of fire fighters from occupational diseases
Title 36 Public Officers and Employees
Chapter 30 Compensation for Death or Disability of Peace Officers, firemen, etc.
Article 1 Definitions; dependents; persons eligible for compensation
- As used in this section the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein unless a contrary meaning is indicated by the context:
- CITY. Any municipality of the state, regardless of its population.
- FIRE FIGHTER. A person employed as a fire fighter by a city.
- FIRE FIGHTER’S OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE. Any condition or impairment of health caused by any of the following:
- Heart disease.
- Respiratory disease.
- Cancer which manifests itself in a fire fighter during the period in which the fire fighter is in the service of the city, provided the fire fighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed, while in the employ of the city, to a known carcinogen which is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer, and the cancer shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the fire fighter’s employment unless the city demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the cancer was caused by some other means.
- AIDS which manifests itself in a fire fighter during the period in which the fire fighter is in the service of the city, provided the fire fighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed to AIDS while in the line and scope of his or her employment with the city.
- Hepatitis which manifests itself in a fire fighter during the period in which the fire fighter is in the service of the city, provided the fire fighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed to hepatitis while in the line and scope of his or her employment with the city.
- DISABILITY. Disability to perform duties as a fire fighter.
- BENEFIT. Any monetary allowance payable by a city or from a pension system established for the firemen of a city to a fire fighter on account of his or her disability or to his or her dependents on account of his or her death, irrespective of whether the same is payable under a pension law of the state or under some other law of the state.
- This section shall apply to fire fighters who, upon entering the service of the city as fire fighters, have successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of a fire fighter’s occupational disease and who have completed at least three years’ service as fire fighters.
If a physical examination was not required at the time of entry into service, a fire fighter who has completed at least three years’ continuous service as a fire fighter next preceding September 8, 1967, shall be deemed eligible for benefits under this section.
- If a fire fighter who qualifies for benefits under this section suffers disability as a result of a fire fighter’s occupational disease his or her disability shall be compensable the same as any service-connected disability under any law which provides benefits for fire fighters of the city injured in the line of duty. If a fire fighter who qualifies for benefits under this section dies as the result of a fire fighter’s occupational disease, his or her death shall be compensable to the same extent as the death of a fire fighter killed in the line of duty, and shall be considered to have been killed in the line of duty for purposes of Sections 36-30-1 to 36-30-7, inclusive.
- In the case of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and respiratory disease, the municipality must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the condition was caused by some means other than the occupation to disqualify the fire fighter from benefits.
(3) COVID-19. Coronavirus disease 2019, for which the Governor declared a public health emergency on March 13, 2020, or any mutation or variant thereof that is declared a public health emergency under the Emergency Management Act.
(4) DIRECT AND PROXIMATE RESULT OF A HEART ATTACK OR STROKE. Death resulting from a heart attack or stroke caused by engaging or participating in a situation while on duty involving nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical law enforcement, fire suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, emergency medical service, prison security, disaster relief, other emergency medical response activity, or participation in a training exercise which involved nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity; and the heart attack or stroke is suffered while still on that duty after so engaging or participating or not more than 24 hours after so engaging or participating.
(5) FIRE FIGHTER or FIRE FIGHTERS. A member or members of a paid or volunteer fire department of a city, town, county, or other subdivision of the state or of a public corporation organized for the purpose of providing water, water systems, fire protection services, or fire protection facilities in the state; and shall include the chief, assistant chief, wardens, engineers, captains, firefighters, and all other officers and employees of such departments who actually engage in fire fighting or in rendering first aid in case of drownings or asphyxiation at the scene of action. The term also includes a firefighter who is employed by the Alabama Forestry Commission and who has been certified by the State Forester as having met the wildland firefighter training standards of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
(a) In the event a peace officer, a firefighter, a volunteer firefighter who is a member of an organized volunteer fire department registered with the Alabama Forestry Commission, or a rescue squad member is killed, either accidentally or deliberately, or dies as a result of injuries received while engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or dies as a direct and proximate result of a heart attack or stroke, his or her beneficiaries or dependents shall be entitled to compensation in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to be paid from the State Treasury as provided in Section 36-30-3, unless such death was caused by the willful misconduct of the officer, firefighter, or rescue squad member or was due to his or her own intoxication or his or her willful failure or refusal to use safety appliances provided by his or her employer or his or her willful refusal or neglect to perform a statutory duty or any other willful violation of a law or his or her willful breach of a reasonable rule or regulation governing the performance of his or her duties or his or her employment of which rule or regulation he or she had knowledge. Any peace officer, firefighter, volunteer firefighter, or rescue squad member whose death results proximately from an injury received while performing his or her duties shall, for the purposes of this article, be deemed to have been killed while in the performance of such duties. A volunteer firefighter or a member of an organized rescue squad who dies of cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular accident, or pulmonary edema within 24 hours after preparing to respond to a called emergency or responding to an emergency; or after serving in his or her capacity at an emergency; or after participating in a required physical training exercise shall be presumed to have died in the performance of his or her duties. If the State Health Officer determines from all available evidence that a volunteer firefighter, who is a member of an organized8 volunteer fire department registered with the Alabama Forestry Commission, has become totally disabled as a result of any injury received while engaged in the performance of his or her fire-fighting duties and the disability is likely to continue for more than 12 months from the date the injury is incurred, then the firefighter shall be entitled to receive disability compensation in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to be paid from the State Treasury as provided in Section 36-30-3. The term total disability shall be interpreted to mean that the injured party is medically disabled to the extent that he or she cannot perform the duties of the job occupation or profession in which he or she was engaging at the time the injury was sustained. The State Health Officer may seek the assistance of any state agency in making the determination of disability and the state agencies shall cooperate with the State Health Officer in such regard. The State Health Officer shall render a decision within 30 days of the time a claim is filed. If such volunteer firefighter disagrees with any officer, he or she may appeal the determination to the State Board of Adjustment in accordance with such board’s procedures for such appeals.