Good News about Firefighter Health Benefits
I’ve noticed many stories about this but here’s a link to one and an excerpt below. It’s nice when we can see the world getting better..
In the meantime, Obama has instructed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department — parent agency of the Forest Service — to “ensure temporary federal firefighters who are bravely battling fires have access to the health insurance they deserve,” the official said.
The official added that the president acted after the issue was brought to his attention following his trip late last month to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Obama toured damage caused by that state’s most destructive wildfire on record.
The so-called Waldo Canyon, which broke out June 23, killed two people and gutted nearly 350 homes and forced the evacuation of some 35,000 people. Ranked as one of worst conflagrations to date during the 2012 wildfire season nationwide, it was finally declared 100 percent contained late Tuesday.
At that time, the White House said that more than 8,800 firefighters were at work against dozens of wild-land blazes burning across the country, most of them in the West.
Some 15,000 firefighters are on the federal government payroll, but 8,000 of them are classified as temporary, seasonal employees and thus ineligible for federal benefits such as health insurance, according to Rachel LaBruyere, an organizer of the petition drive on the nonpartisan social action website Change.org.
“It’s a huge deal, and there’s going to be a lot of really, really happy firefighters out there tonight,” said John Lauer, 27, seasonal member of a “hot-shot” crew from Custer, South Dakota, who initiated the petition drive seeking health benefits. “I’m sure they’re all very thankful for what the president’s done.”