Rep. Claudia L. Tenney and local authorities hailed the signing into law of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act this week.
President Donald J. Trump signed the bill into law on Monday to establish a national cancer registry through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to collect and develop a database on concern incidents among professional and volunteer firefighters. Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, was an original co-sponsor on the bill, according to her office.
The new law was also supported by local group, the Believe 271 Foundation, which provides financial assistance to volunteer firefighters, EMTs and members of a ladies auxiliary in Oneida and Herkimer counties who suffer from a life threatening illness, such as cancer.
“We’re very excited about this. We’re ecstatic,” said Brian McQueen, co-founder of Believe 271 and former chief of the Whitesboro Volunteer Fire Department. McQueen himself is a cancer survivor.
McQueen said the idea for the bill started three years ago with former congressman Richard Hanna, after Hanna met with the Believe 271 Foundation.
“We need to have data. There’s really no data out there on the volunteers,” McQueen said.
According to Tenney, his new registry will allow researchers to better understand cancer incidents among firefighters in a centralized, nation-wide way. The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act will allow the CDC to track and analyze data about cancer development in firefighters, to then better develop new protocols and safety measures for those volunteers.
“Our legislation will utilize existing resources at the federal level to improve the coordination of vital research on cancer incidents among firefighters,” Tenney said in a release.
“As research advances, this information can be used to provide better safeguards and protocols for our nation’s 300,000 professional firefighters and emergency medical responders.”