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Reactive Airway Disease/ Occupational Asthma in firefighters

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  • Reactive Airway Disease/ Occupational Asthma in firefighters

    Back in 2006 I suffered an inhalation injury at a house fire and the doctors have diagnosed me with a condition called Reactive Airway Disease. I was out of work for 45 days.

    Exposure to smoke, diesel fumes, truck exhaust, etc. causes asthma like symptoms.

    I have to take oral steroids and inhaled steroids everyday in addition to other medicine.

    Workers comp sent me a letter indicating that they were about to make their final payment on the case.

    However my meds and inhalers cost almost $350 a month and the docs say I'll be needing the meds from now on...forever.

    So I filed a workers comp lawsuit to keep my meds every month. Life gets more difficult after that.

    Yesterday I was threatened with being terminated.

    I would like to know, do other "white shirt" officers that spend 99% of their time as incident commander wear SCBA while performing the duties of the incident commander?

    I believe it to be impossible. The need for communication and ability to see would be too severely limited.

    If others do then tell me how. How do you see well enough and secondly how do you communicate with incoming units, dispatch and attack crew members with a mask on?

    Even a mask with a radio mic wouldn't suffice because of the need for face to face communication also. It's just not feasible or safe in my opinion for a command level officer to wear an SCBA while running a fire scene.

    My experience has been that simply talking normally while wearing an SCBA is almost impossible.

    Thats the magic solution in some peoples mind....wear the SCBA and there will be no problem.

    But how do I do my IC job wearing a mask?
    Last edited by madawaska; 08-22-2010, 02:03 PM.

  • #2
    What state do you live in? Have you contacted a labor lawyer? Being job related, I would believe you would qualify for a disability?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Acklan View Post
      What state do you live in? Have you contacted a labor lawyer? Being job related, I would believe you would qualify for a disability?
      In addition... are you an IAFF member?
      Is everything documented?
      Does your state have presumptive heart/lung law and cancer legislation?

      I would definitely contact an attorney to look after your interests.
      Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 08-19-2010, 07:05 PM.
      ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
      Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


      • #4
        Everything is documented and I do have a reputable lawyer.
        Last edited by madawaska; 08-22-2010, 02:04 PM.


        • #5
          I would have your "friend" the Chief deposed before this goes too far. People tend to forget when law suites are pending. Does your lawyer feel you have a harassment case, since the threatened you?
          If you were a IAFF member still the would be obligated to defend your position since you would have been hurt on duty. Not being a member releases them from that obligation.

          Not know you case this may or may not help, but it appears to be on point..


          • #6

            I hope you keep your job. Since the issue is a medical problem, you may want to think of a second career, as a backup plan.

            911 dispatcher, building inspector, security guard, etc. are related emergency jobs. Some of these jobs provide medical insurance, too.

            Good luck!


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