Firefighters perform a crucial service, but their work often exposes them to harm, leading to injuries, trauma and chronic illnesses.
Fortunately, firefighters can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, section 4850 of the Labor Code entitles California firefighters to additional support.
Potential hazards for firefighters
There are many dangers a firefighter might encounter on the job. First, walking through unstable buildings can cause trips, falls and crushing injuries. Exposure to flames can lead to heat exhaustion and burns. Additionally, smoke inhalation can cause respiratory issues and lung damage. Serious illnesses, including cancer, can develop after a firefighter encounters carcinogens. Finally, being a firefighter can also lead to chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease.
Benefits and workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits cover expenses and provide support for individuals with work-related disabilities, illnesses and injuries. For example, firefighters can seek workers’ compensation to cover lost wages and medical costs. Disability benefits can provide support on a temporary or permanent basis.
In addition, under Labor Code section 4845, California firefighters can receive their full salary for up to a year instead of the usual two-thirds salary that disability benefits provide. Furthermore, California gives the benefit of the doubt to firefighters who develop chronic illnesses like cancer, heart injury and pneumonia. These firefighters receive benefits and compensation for medical care because work-related exposure to harm and carcinogens presumably led to their condition.
Firefighters with medical problems should get the support they deserve. It is important that firefighters in California be aware of the benefits and compensation they can receive if they experience illness or injury because of their work.