With the passage of Senate Bill 160 Montana becomes the 48th state with some form of presumptive care for firefighters.
The Firefighters Protection Act lists 12 presumptive diseases for which it would be easier for a firefighter to file a workers’ compensation claim if they served a certain number of years:
- Bladder cancer, 12 years
- Brain cancer, 10 years
- Breast cancer, 5 years
- Myocardial infarction, 10 years
- colorectal cancer, 10 years
- Esophageal cancer, 10 years
- Kidney cancer, 15 years
- Leukemia, 5 years
- Mesothelioma or asbestosis, 10 years
- Multiple myeloma, 15 years
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, 15 years
- Lung cancer, 4 years
The bill applies to volunteers and local fire departments in Montana, but not to federal firefighters. It is unclear if it affects those employed by the state government.
The federal government has not established a presumptive disease program for their 15,000 wildland firefighters.
At a bill signing ceremony Thursday afternoon Governor Bullock will issue a proclamation ordering flags to be displayed at half-staff in honor of all Montana firefighters who have lost their lives from a job-related illness in the line of duty.
In a related story from April 12, “British Columbia may expand firefighter occupational disease coverage to wildland firefighters”