NYSPFFA Calls for Expanded Protections for Line of Duty Exposures to Toxic Substances
Career fire fighters from across New York state gathered today to pay tribute to their fallen colleagues who died as a result of their response to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001; and their exposure to toxins stemming from their round-the-clock rescue and recovery efforts.
Sam Fresina, president of the 18,000 member New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association (NYSPFFA) paused to lay a wreath with state officials at the Fire Fighters Memorial located at the Empire State Plaza. Prior to his NYSPFFA service, Fresina served for more than 20 years with Albany Fire Department and for four years as U.S. Air Force fire fighter/airman.
“The pain and loss we all suffered on September 11 simply cannot be extinguished,” Fresina said. “One hundred thirteen more names have been added to the wall because they responded to the call for help when their City, State and Country needed them.”
Fresina’s remarks were all the more meaningful due to legislation (Assembly 6501 and Senate 4564) that will soon be considered by Governor Andrew Cuomo. These bills relate to protections the state may extend to fire fighters suffering from cancers presumed to result from job related exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens. It often takes years, after initial exposure for symptoms to present and metastasize.
“The data is clear and compelling, the rate of cancer deaths for fire fighters is dramatically higher than that observed among the general population because of on-the-job exposures to chemicals and gases associated with combating various fires, said Fresina. “In the coming weeks, Governor Cuomo will have the opportunity to stand up for the needs of families of the fallen, and those with disabling conditions in the same way that fire fighters respond to the needs of those in distress – with duty and purpose.”