TPFFA
Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association
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  • 2020 Candidate Questionnaire

    2020 Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA) Questionnaire for State Offices

    Candidate Name:

    TN Office Sought: Senate District   House District 
    Party Affiliation:
    Are you an Incumbent: Yes    No
    Campaign Address:
    Campaign Phone No:
    Campaign Web Address:
    Campaign Manager:
    Campaign Manager Phone:
    Campaing Manager Email:
    Do you have Primary Election opposition? Yes   No 
    If yes, Primary Election opponent's name(s)
    Do you have General Election opposition? Yes   No
    If yes, General Election opponent's name and party affiliation.
    Please specify any other groups that have endorsed your campaign this year or in the past. (If past elections, please specify)
    Have you ever run for or held elective office? Yes   No
    If yes, what office(s) did you run for and when? Include office and dates held or year ran.
    Have you received the endorsement from any TPFFA or International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) locals for your current campaign? Yes   No
    If yes, please list which TPFFA/IAFF local(s)
    Please list any civic groups or professional organizations you belong to:

    Public Policy Issues Questions

    1. Declared Emergency Disease Coverage

    Issue Explanation:

    Modern fire fighters are required to respond to all types of emergencies, including medical emergencies.  Men and women who are fire fighters respond to those emergencies regardless of the risk to their personal health, but they do ask that the employer provide them care if they contract a disease related to their job.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Tennessee fire fighters have been required by their employer to use personal sick leave, vacation, or other personal time after contracting the virus or being exposed and requiring quarantine.  If a fire fighter does not have a number of years on the job which allows them to accumulate sick leave and vacation time, the result is a situation of no pay during that time before they can return to work.  One department went so far as telling their fire fighters that all contractions of COVID-19 or required quarantine would be considered not related to their job unless they could provide proof of the actual incident where they were exposed. Fire fighters come in contact with numerous people while performing their jobs and it is almost impossible to identify exactly where they were exposed to an infectious disease.

    Policy Question:

    Would you support legislation requiring public employers of firefighters to cover firefighters for medical treatments and expenses in the event they contract an infectious disease or virus during a nationally- or locally-declared emergency or disaster?

    Yes   No
    Comments:

    2. Fire Fighter Cancer Presumption Laws

    Issue Explanation:

    Credible studies have repeatedly concluded that firefighters have a significantly higher chance of developing certain cancers. Even though fire fighters start out as one of the healthiest workforces in the nation, they develop cancer at a higher rate and at a younger age than the general public. At least thirty-seven states have expanded access to workers' compensation or other disability-related benefits for firefighters by statutorily creating a disability presumption for firefighters who contract certain types of cancer while performing his or her firefighting duties. In states with these laws, when a firefighter applies for workers' compensation or other benefits related to their cancer, the firefighter is presumed to be eligible for benefits unless the employer proves that the firefighter's cancer was not caused by his or her firefighting duties. In 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly unanimously passed a cancer presumption law for firefighters that covers colon cancer, skin cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. While firefighters are grateful for the passage of that law, there is need for expansion to cover additional cancers that firefighters are contracting at a higher rate and younger age than the public directly associated with firefighting. The following cancers are linked directly to firefighting by two or more credible scientific studies: bladder, brain, esophagus, kidney, lung, prostate, rectal, and stomach.

    Policy Question:

    Would you support expanding the cancer coverage for professional firefighters in Tennessee to include the cancers listed above?

    Yes   No
    Comments:

    3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Coverage For First Responders

    Issue Explanation:

    Tennessee, along with other states, has recognized that careers in firefighting, emergency medical service (EMS), and law enforcement have adverse effects on the behavioral and mental health of first responders. Studies have shown that one in five firefighters suffer from occupational Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during their career and that firefighters with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide. Firefighters, EMS personnel, and law enforcement are faced with horrific situations on an almost daily basis responding emergency scenes.

    The cumulative effects of working these traumatic calls can have a devastating mental effect on these first responders. For some first responders it can be one particular incident that triggers problems and for others it is the accumulation of years of traumatic calls that finally overwhelms them. Either way, PTSD is a manageable disease given the early intervention by professionals trained to help. Currently in Tennessee, a first responder can only claim PTSD as an "occupational injury" if it is associated with a physical injury to the first responder or if it can be pinpointed to one specific incident. The state does not recognize the cumulative effects of emergency response as related to PTSD as an occupational injury.

    Policy Question:

    Would you support legislation to recognize cumulative PTSD for firefighters, EMS personnel, and law enforcement through the state workers compensation plan and any local municipality "on the job injury" benefit plan?

    Yes   No
    Comments:

     


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