It has been a two decade-long pursuit for Montana firefighters to get health protection legislation passed.
On Sunday’s Face the State, we examine Senate Bill 160, also known as the health and safety bill.
The bill would protect firefighters from on-the-job illness, such as cancer and communicable diseases.
Montana is one of only three states that does not have any legislation in place.
Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters President Joel Fassbinder said the industry has changed so much over the last 30 years, but they are doing everything they can to protect themselves on the job.
“We do have the best equipment, safety equipment, through our turns out, our masks and helmets and gloves. It is the best that is currently available in the industry. Short of wrapping ourselves in saran wrap, there is an absorption that is going right through our skin. So as we are in these hot and volatile environments, we are getting hot and the pores on your skin are opening up and it allows these chemicals to be absorbed,” Fassbinder said.
Opponents of the bill are worried about it being an unfunded mandate for Montana.
The bill recently passed out of the Senate and had its first reading in the House Business and Labor Committee.
-Reported by Margaret DeMarco/MTN News