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Gov. DeSantis signs bill to help shield firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals

It establishes a program to provide grants to fire departments in need of equipment, supplies and training to mitigate firefighters' exposure to harmful chemicals.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — There's another layer of protection coming for Florida firefighters as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to help limit their exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1092 on Saturday, which goes into effect July 1.

It creates a program within the Department of Financial Services to provide financial assistance to qualifying fire departments to help obtain equipment, supplies and educational training to lessen their exposure to those harmful elements, according to a news release.

"I applaud Governor DeSantis for signing Senate Bill 1092 which will now ensure Florida’s firefighters are provided with vital equipment, training, and supplies to mitigate exposure to cancer-causing contaminants," Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said in the release.

DeSantis in May 2019 signed a bill guaranteeing health care benefits to firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer. It allowed for certain disability payments to firefighters and death benefits to their families if they die as a result of cancer or cancer treatments. 

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The law cuts out the need for firefighters to file workman's comp claims in some instances.

Republicans Elizabeth Fetterhoff and Aaron Bean, a state representative and senator, respectively, who sponsored the bill said the program is necessary to ensure firefighters are being taken care of as they help the public.

"Floridians depend on their local firefighters every day to come to their aid at a moment’s notice," Bean said in the release. "This legislation ensures that those firefighters receive the needed equipment and represents that we are there to keep them safe."

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