February 11, 2016- Roanoke, VA
WDBJ 7 News reports that a firefighter was injured at the scene of a house fire in the Green Hill area of Roanoke County. According to the report, the firefighter fell through the second-story floor and into the basement, but was able to climb out of the house on his own. The firefighter was checked out by EMS and cleared to return to work.
Firefighting is an unequivocally dangerous profession; according to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 63,350 firefighter injuries in the year 2014.
In that same year, 64 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty. The majority of firefighter fatalities occurred at fire scenes, with sudden cardiac death accounting for the largest share of on-duty deaths.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act reflects the specific risks firefighters and other emergency responders face. Firefighters who are injured while fighting a fire, maintaining equipment, performing office duties, training to stay in shape, or training to fight fires may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Additionally, Virginia workers’ compensation law for firefighters covers heart conditions, lung conditions, and cancer. Not only that, the law presumes that those conditions are caused by the firefighter’s employment. Often referred to as the heart-lung presumption, this law makes it easier for firefighters to obtain the benefits they deserve.
Other conditions that may fall under the heart-lung presumption include:
- Coronary heart disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)