PEF is pleased to report that its legislation to provide a 3/4 disability benefit for PEF fire protection specialists, as well as a heart disease presumption benefit, passed both houses of the legislature on May 23, 2022 (S.1889-C by Sen. Skoufis/A.4084-B by Asm. Abbate). This bill would amend article 15 of the retirement and social security law by adding a new section 605-f, which would create an accidental disability and heart disease presumption benefit for the fire protection specialist series, provided that the injured individual is physically or mentally incapacitated as a natural and proximate result of an injury sustained while working as a fire protection specialist.
PEF’s fire protection specialists conduct inspections, coordinate and conduct training programs, and provide consultation and expert technical assistance in a variety of fire and emergency services related areas, respond to emergency incidents as directed, providing technical assistance to local fire officials as requested and conduct fire/arson investigations. This legislation is critical as studies show that first responders and firefighters have elevated concentrations of certain toxic compounds produced from burning the chemicals contained in flame-retardant materials and are generally more exposed to hazardous chemicals (and their byproducts) compared to the general public. Our fire protection specialists are often exposed to the very same toxins as firefighters and thus similarly have a heightened risk of developing debilitating health conditions.
PEF is proud to have been able to secure this important benefit for these essential workers who continue to put their lives on the line and will push for the governor to sign this legislation into law when it is sent to her for consideration.