Press "Enter" to skip to content

Missouri establishes fund to aid firefighters with cancer

Gov. Mike Parson signed into law Thursday legislation establishing a fund to aid firefighters who develop cancer while on the job. 

The bill was championed by Sen. Lincoln Hough during session, something the Republican senator dubbed as priority legislation for the year. 

“I have been wanting to do something for our firefighters for a long time, and I believe this puts us on the right path to help them,” Hough said. “Let’s face it, these are men and women who put their lives on the line for little compensation. They do it because they care about their community and the people who live there. We need to thank them for their bravery.” 

Passed during the final week of session, SB 45 allows for three or more political subdivisions to create and make contributions to a Voluntary Firefighter Cancer Benefits Pool. The pools can apply for and accept public and private grants, including from the state fire marshal. 

The funding will be distributed to paid or volunteer firefighters who develop cancer as a result of their work. Benefits to individuals who used tobacco products within five years immediately preceding a cancer diagnosis could be reduced. 

Parson signed the bill Thursday from the state Capitol. Without an emergency clause, it’s slated to go into effect on Aug. 28. 

“There’s a higher risk of more than a dozen different kinds of cancer for those who have been exposed while a chemical compound is burning,” Hough said. “This is landmark legislation, and it is a great way to help our firefighters who put their lives on the line to serve our communities on a daily basis.”