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IAFF endorses Military Fire Fighter PFAS compensation bill

January 31, 2024

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has endorsed the Military Fire Fighters PFAS Compensation Bill (H.R. 6946).

This bill, introduced by U.S. Representatives Marilyn Strickland and Bill Posey on January 10th, aims to establish a fund specifically for military fire fighters.

The goal is to offer timely and adequate compensation to current and former military fire fighters, as well as survivors, who suffer from illnesses related to on-the-job exposure to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

Health risks from PFAS exposure

The IAFF’s endorsement comes amid growing concerns about the health risks associated with PFAS, particularly among military fire fighters.

General President Edward Kelly of the IAFF highlighted the critical role these fire fighters play in national security.

He noted: “Military fire fighters, including our 16th District members employed at military installations, play a critical role in our nation’s security.

“Sadly, in the course of this essential work, these brave men and women are unnecessarily exposed to toxic PFAS-laden firefighting foams, subjecting them to higher rates of cancer and other serious health effects.”

Legislative response to PFAS-related health concerns

The proposed Military Firefighters Compensation Fund is seen as a necessary measure to acknowledge and support those who have been affected.

Strickland and Posey, the bill’s sponsors, emphasized the importance of caring for these individuals.

Strickland stated: “Military firefighters, most of whom are civilians, are directly exposed to PFAS chemicals while on the job – and deserve compensation, especially for their work-related illnesses.” She further emphasized the significance of this support for overall military readiness.

Posey echoed this sentiment, focusing on the need for ensuring the well-being of fire fighters.

He said: “Our fire fighters deserve our utmost gratitude for risking their health and lives in service to our communities.

“They need our assurance that we will take care of them like they take care us.”

FSJA Comment

The endorsement of the Military Fire Fighters PFAS Compensation Bill by the IAFF marks a pivotal moment in addressing the long-term health consequences faced by military fire fighters due to PFAS exposure.

This initiative not only acknowledges the sacrifices made by these individuals but also underscores the responsibility of a nation to care for its service members, particularly those facing health challenges due to their service.

The establishment of the compensation fund represents a concrete step towards providing necessary support and reflecting a commitment to the welfare of military fire fighters and their families.

As the bill moves through the legislative process, its potential impact on thousands of service members and their families will be closely monitored.

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