Barrar Announces House Passage of Cancer Presumption for Firefighters

Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) today lauded House passage of legislation that would designate cancer as an occupational disease for professional and volunteer firefighters. 

“Pennsylvania’s brave firefighters risk their lives every time they answer an emergency call, and they deserve to know they will be appropriately compensated if they develop cancer as a direct result of their firefighting duties,” said Barrar.  “We have worked long and hard to draft legislation that will acknowledge the cancer risk faced by firefighters, while considering the concerns of local governments.  House Bill 797 represents an appropriate compromise, and I am hopeful it will make it to the governor’s desk in the near future.” 

House Bill 797 is sponsored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks).  It would allow firefighters to receive workers’ compensation if they develop cancer and can establish direct exposure to certain carcinogens while responding to an incident.   

Barrar, who is the majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, noted that similar legislation was vetoed last year by former Gov. Ed Rendell. 

“Pennsylvania citizens have a vested interest in ensuring that men and women continue to volunteer for the fire services.  Volunteers save billions of dollars for communities across the Commonwealth.  We ask a lot of our volunteers, but asking them to foot the bill for their own cancer treatments – for cancers they would not have contracted had they not served the community – is asking too much,” said Barrar.  “This legislation is about taking responsibility for those who take care of us, and showing compassion for those who develop a terrible disease as a result of their own heroism.”   

House Bill 797 will now go to the Senate for consideration. 

More information about Barrar and his legislative proposals is available at and

State Representative Steve Barrar
160th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley

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