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State of Rhode Island General Laws
Title 45 Towns and Cities
CHAPTER 45-19 Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers
Sec. 45-19-16 Presumption of disability in the line of fire fighting duty
CHAPTER 45-19.1 Cancer Benefits For Fire Fighters
Sec. 45-19.1-3 Occupational cancer disability for fire fighters
Title 23 Health and Safety
CHAPTER 23-28.36 Notification of Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians After Exposure to Infectious Diseases
Sec. 23-28.36-4 Occupational Disability for fire fighters
Sec. 23-28.36-2 Definitions
Rhode Island Legislative Website
Presumption of disability in the line of fire fighting duty. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law or to any state or municipal retirement system, any city or town may, by ordinance, provide that every condition of impairment of health caused by smoke inhalation of the lungs or respiratory tract, resulting in total disability or death to a uniformed member of a paid fire department, is presumed to have been suffered in the line of duty as a result of the inhalation of noxious fumes or poisonous gases, unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence; provided, that the person benefiting by the presumption passes a physical examination upon entry into service or subsequent to entry an examination failed to reveal any evidence of the condition.
Occupational cancer disability for fire fighters.
- Any fire fighter, including one employed by the state, or a municipal fire fighter employed by a municipality that participates in the optional retirement for police officers and fire fighters, as provided in chapter 21.2 of this title, who is unable to perform his or her duties in the fire department by reason of a disabling occupational cancer which develops or manifests itself during a period while the fire fighter is in the service of the department, and any retired member of the fire department of any city or town who develops occupational cancer, is entitled to receive an occupational cancer disability, and he or she is entitled to all of the benefits provided for in chapters 19, 21 and 21.2 of this title and chapter 10 of title 36 if the fire fighter is employed by the state.
- The provisions of this section apply retroactively in the case of any retired member of the fire department of any city or town.
- Any type of cancer found in a firefighter is conclusively presumed to be an occupational cancer as that term is defined in § 45-19.1-2.
- This conclusive presumption shall not apply to firefighters hired after July 22, 2020, in the following situations:
- If a physical examination was conducted at the time the firefighter was hired and the examination revealed that person had cancer; or
- If the firefighter has completed less than two (2) years of employment with his or her fire department; or
- If the firefighter has regularly or habitually used tobacco products during the five (5) years prior to any diagnosis of cancer.
- The provisions of this section shall apply retroactively to all cancer-related illnesses, injuries, and disability claims pending on or after July 22, 2020.
Occupational disability for fire fighters. Any active fire fighter or police officer who is unable to perform his or her duties in his or her department by reason of exposure to infectious disease as defined in Sec. 23-28.36-2, which infectious disease develops or manifests itself as a result of the exposure during a period while the fire fighter or police officer is in the service of the department, shall be entitled to receive an occupational disability, and he or she shall be entitled to all of the benefits provided for in chapter 19 of title 45, as applicable.
Definitions. The following terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings herein ascribed:
- “Contagious disease” means an infectious disease.
- “Disability” means a condition of physical incapacity to perform any assigned duty or duties in the fire department or emergency medical service.
- “Emergency medical technician” means a person licensed pursuant to chapter 4.1 of this title to provide emergency medical services.
- “Fire department” means service groups (paid or volunteer) that are organized and trained for the prevention and control of loss of life and property from fire or other emergency.
- “Fire fighter” means an individual who is assigned to fire fighting activity and is required to respond to alarms and perform emergency action at the location of a fire, hazardous materials, or other emergency incident.
- “Infectious disease” means interruption, cessation, or disorder of body functions, systems, or organs transmissible by association with the sick or their secretions or excretions, excluding the common cold. Infectious disease includes, but is not limited to, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV).