SHELTON, Conn. -- During a late evening session of the state House of Representatives, legislators Ben McGorty (R-122, who represents Shelton, Trumbull and Stratford) and Jason Perillo (R-113, who represents Shelton) voted in favor of a bill they are co-sponsoring that will create a Firefighter’s Cancer Relief Fund.
The fund would be created by the diversion of 1 cent from the current e911 fee on phone bills, and will be used exclusively for the purpose of providing wage replacement benefits for eligible paid and volunteer firefighter cancer victims, and to cover associated administrative costs.
The fund is expected to generate $400,000 per year.
“Firefighters are on the front lines day and night protecting the lives of those in their communities,” said McGorty, who has served for 36 years in the fire service, is a deputy fire marshal for the City of Shelton and serves on Shelton Board of Fire Commissioners.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line each and every day, and sometime when their work day is done, the risks they take go home with them,” said Perillo, a former chief of Echo Hose Ambulance in Shelton. “This fund will offer important support for those who need it, to be reviewed by fellow firefighters. It’s an important and compassionate resource.”
In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued findings from a study examining the medical histories of more than 30,000 firefighters between 1950 and 2010. The study concluded firefighters were at an elevated risk to develop cancers of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems and were twice as likely to develop mesothelioma than those in other occupations.
The bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 141-0 and now heads to the state Senate.
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