Excerpts from the eldoradonews.com:

Arkansas legislators passed Crump’s Law on Monday, granting municipal firefighters across the state an extra six months of paid sick leave when they are being treated for cancer contracted on the job. Although the firefighters initially pushed for one full year of paid sick leave for those who are diagnosed with occupational cancer, they are happy with the compromise because it protects both firefighters and the municipalities they work in.

Crump’s Law is named after Nathanial Crump, a Little Rock firefighter who, due to a lack of sick time available, was forced to return to work while still fighting cancer. Crump later died after being transported to the hospital from his fire station.

Before Crump’s Law, firefighters were entitled to up to 2,160 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the length of their employment with a department. Since firefighters typically work 24-hour shifts, that amounts to about three months of leave. For Crump’s Law to affect a firefighter, they must have been with their department for at least five years; the five year quota is because that is about the least amount of time it could take for someone to be exposed to enough carcinogens on the job to develop occupational cancer. 

Not every type of cancer is covered under the bill; if a firefighter develops a type of cancer that has not been scientifically linked to their job, they will not qualify for the extended leave.

Members of El Dorado Professional Firefighters Local 1704 representing 90 percent of the paid firefighters in El Dorado, lobbied at the state Capitol in February for the bill’s passage. In addition to Crump’s Law, House bill 1345 also passed, allowing firefighters to take a disability retirement if they are diagnosed with occupational cancer and have been working for their department for long enough.

When the firefighters lobbied at the Capitol in February, they were also supporting HB1614, known as the firefighters’ bill of rights. That bill was pulled from the current legislative session in order to make changes to it, but it may be revisited at the next legislative session.

The EFD has a washer/extractor at each station so firefighters can wash their gear after wearing it at the scene of a fire. Firefighters have an extra set of gear to wear when their primary suits are in the wash; there are also enough protective hoods for each firefighter to wash theirs at any time and still have one to wear if they’re called to a fire.

Additionally, when fire trucks are parked at the station, their exhaust pipes are connected to hoses that allow the exhaust to exit the station, instead of getting trapped inside.  Firefighters also use Rescue Wipes, which allow them to clean ash and soot off their skin at the scene of a fire.

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