A sense of ease has overcome members of the Valdosta Fire Department with the implementation of newly passed House Bill 146. Effective Jan. 1, HB 146 “requires all legally organized fire departments in Georgia to offer certain cancer benefits to firefighters,” according to Valdosta city documents.
Both full-time and part-time employees who serve 12 consecutive months for fire departments are eligible to receive a lump sum of $25,000 if diagnosed with cancer, according to city documents. The amount can decrease “depending on the severity of the cancer.”
Volunteers also benefit from the new state law.
Fire Chief Freddie Broome said a firefighter cannot be diagnosed with cancer six months prior to the bill coming into place.
Broome said the VFD has created internal efforts to minimize cancer risks within firefighters.