Larkin Supports Bills Affecting Firefighters

William J. Larkin, Jr.

February 02, 2006

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced he is cosponsoring legislation in the New York State Senate to protect the health of firefighters and to solicit their help in child abuse cases.

"Our local firefighters protect our neighborhoods in more than one way," said Senator Larkin. "Not only are they are out there in our communities putting out fires and administering emergency care, but they are often the astute observers of domestic problems that may be occurring. Both of these bills recognize that fact. They are designed to further assist our firefighters in the job they do and to also solicit their help by tapping into the keen understanding they have for what is happening in our own backyards."

The first bill (S.6283) establishes a bladder cancer screening program for firefighters. There are approximately 50,000 new cases of bladder cancer a year with approximately 12,500 deaths. Since at least 1995 it has been known that firefighters, and those in related occupations, face an increased risk of the disease, compared to the general population because of their exposure to burning toxic materials while fighting fires. On a smaller scale, exposure to engine exhaust fumes from inadequate ventilation systems in the fire houses are also a contributing factor. This legislation would make a new screening test available to firefighters to better protect them against this risk.

The second bill (S.6367) would require firefighters to report suspected child abuse or neglect cases to Social Services. Because of their daily interactions in the local community, this important category of emergency response workers will help ensure that more cases of mistreatment are reported.