California Professional Firefighters

Firefighters Encouraged to Record Their Exposures

Through aggressive lobbying by CPF, California firefighters are now protected by some of the strongest firefighter presumption laws in the nation.

But firefighters still need proof of exposures!

All of the presumptions in statute are disputable, which means that firefighters need evidence that an illness resulted on the job. It can mean all the difference in a workers' compensation claim.

"It's vastly easier to make your case if you have kept extensive records of your exposures," said Tom Bowen, attorney with Davis, Cowell and Bowe, who has represented firefighters in presumption cases. "And if you were at a fire -- any fire -- you were exposed."

So how do firefighters put their exposures on the record?

For the past 25 years, the Personal Exposure Reporting (PER) program has been helping firefighters report their exposures safely and securely. For $15 a year, firefighters have unlimited access to PER's unique exposure reporting form, which automates the sometimes time-consuming paper filing process. It's a firefighter's best line of defense.

"I've seen too many cases where a firefighter does not get workers' comp or a firefighter's family does not get the death benefits that they deserve because there weren't any exposure records to support their case," said Mike Dubron, president and founder of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, who recorded his exposures prior to his cancer diagnosis.

Dubron recommends that firefighters consider reporting exposures a vital part of their job.

"The few minutes that a firefighter spends reporting their exposures are just as important as putting on turnouts before battling a blaze. They both serve to protect the firefighter," Dubron said.

For more information about PER, visit www.peronline.org, call (916) 921-9111 or email PER@cpf.org. For more information about the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, visit www.firefightercancersupport.org.