Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved supplemental funding of $1 million to cover the treatment of cancer for firefighters.

Senate Bill 802 would add $1 million to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, which was introduced in the Legislature in 2014 and signed into law in early 2015. The fund was created to assist firefighters dealing with specific types of cancer that can presumably be linked to their job.

“This bill would provide closure to firefighters and their families,” said Knollenberg, R-Troy. “Firefighters are often first responders in many emergency situations and are tasked every day with protecting the communities in which they serve. They do their very best to keep us safe and I believe we should do the same in taking care of those who were injured in the line of duty. ”

When entering a burning building, firefighters come in direct contact with a number of toxins and carcinogens. There are 10 types of cancers that have been shown to affect firefighters at greater rates. These include: lymphatic, respiratory, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, thyroid, testicle and prostate cancers.

Knollenberg noted that there were originally some concerns regarding where long-term funding for the account would come from, and that he was glad to see the Legislature taking steps to put funding into place.

“This is a true example of legislators acting in a purely bipartisan manner to do what is right for our first responders,” Knollenberg said. “These individuals act in the face of danger every day — often without regard for their own personal safety. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to add money to this fund as part of the budget process for years to come.”

SB 802 will now go before the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.