DEATH AND DISABILITY
The modern firefighter is an all-hazard responder who is frequently called upon to be the first line of defense to a broad range of emergencies. Firefighters can be called at a moment’s notice to respond to emergencies across the County, State, or Country.
Working as a firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs. Providing death and disability benefits for firefighters who put their lives on the line should be an inherent right.
Since Proposition B pension reform passed in 2012, San Diego City firefighters became the only firefighters in the State to have no employer-defined death and disability benefit if killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. More than 350 firefighters the City hired after the reform passed never got the benefits, which provide 50% of their base salary until death if they are injured in the line of duty and cannot continue working. For those killed in the line of duty, the benefits would go to their spouse.
In August 2019, San Diego City Council approved an interim plan to restore the benefits to firefighters. The vote was a major victory for firefighters as it protects the city, the employees, and ultimately the citizens.
Firefighting is a dangerous profession, and a growing body of research and data shows that firefighters are at an increased risk for different types of chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.