NFFE Claims Long-Fought Victory as Federal Firefighter Health and Safety Legislation Becomes Law
December 16, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) is claiming victory as language from both the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act (H.R. 2499) and the Federal Firefighters Workforce Support Act was included in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The provisions taken from the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act will establish a presumption that federal firefighters with at least five years of service who develop serious health conditions, such as cancers and long-term illnesses, did so due to on-the-job exposure to smoke and other hazardous materials. The legislation also includes proactive measures to ensure that diseases suffered by federal firefighters are better reported and studied.
“For over two decades, NFFE has advocated for legislation that ensures federal firefighters who develop severe illnesses resulting from their service to this nation receive appropriate workers’ compensation benefits,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “Finally, through our partnership with the International Association of Firefighters, we have garnered enough bipartisan support to see this provision codified into law. This is a huge victory for all federal firefighters.”
The NDAA language from the Federal Firefighters Workforce Support Act requires DoD fire engines to be staffed with four firefighters instead of the three-member crew which was recently implemented as a cost-saving measure that put employee safety at risk. Further, the legislation ensures airport fire response vehicles are staffed with no fewer than the standard minimum number of crew members.
“Both provisions are critical to preserving the health and safety of federal firefighters,” continued Erwin. “Federal employees, especially firefighters working in hazardous conditions, deserve to have their medical needs taken care of by their employer if their illnesses are a result of on-the-job exposure over the course of their careers. Additionally, it is never appropriate for federal firefighters to face unnecessary risk because of staffing on their crews, and we are pleased to see this will not be an issue for DoD employees. Thank you to Representatives Salud Carbajal and Don Bacon for your leadership in passing the presumption bill through the House, and to all of those who supported provisions of both bills to be included in the NDAA.”