BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As we’ve reported over the past two years, more firefighters are facing health risks that could last long after the smoke clears, especially when it comes to cancer. Now, Birmingham firefighters are getting some help. This week the Birmingham City Council approved the additional cancer coverage for its firefighters which helps them pay for treatment.
Firefighters have been telling the city for a while they want cancer insurance because of all the toxins they face on the job.
A recent study found that firefighters are being diagnosed with cancer at alarming rates. That’s because house fires now burn faster and hotter than ever and they release carcinogens which could lead to cancer.
City councilman Darrell O’Quinn who sits on the budget and finance committee believes this additional coverage provides an extra layer of protection for firefighters and their families.
"This is an additional exposure they are subjected to in performing the duties of their job. I think it's a good investment for us,” O’Quinn said.
State law now requires local governments to offer this supplemental coverage. It will cost the city about $100,000 a year.