Volunteer firefighters diagnosed with certain cancers would be eligible for health care benefits under legislation signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday.
Volunteer firefighters injured in the line of duty are currently eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through workers' compensation, but under the new legislation firefighters also will be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers. That includes cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological and reproductive systems, or melanoma.
The benefits would be effective Jan. 1, 2019, for firefighters who have at least five years of service fighting fire in the interior of buildings; who are currently active or within five years of his or her last active date; and who did not show any evidence of cancer upon volunteering.
"New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe," Cuomo said in a statement. "With this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve."