HARRISBURG – Legislation to include cancer as part of the list of occupational diseases for firefighters was unanimously passed by the Senate on Monday.

The legislation, House Bill 797, was introduced by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks County) with companion legislation in the Senate, Senate Bill 654, introduced by Sen. David G. Argall (R-29). The legislation now moves to the Governor's desk for his signature.

"This legislation is a big win for our local firefighters," said Argall. "After Gov. Rendell vetoed this legislation last year, Representative Farry and I introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to stand up for our brave firefighters. With so many brave men and women volunteering throughout our state, this legislation is important to protect firefighters who may contract cancer while in the line of duty. This legislation represents an important bipartisan compromise that was reached by local municipal officials and groups representing the firefighters throughout the state."

With 2,400 fire departments and close to 70,000 volunteer firefighters, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the volunteer fire service for North America. The savings to the taxpayers of having volunteer firefighters is immense; estimations range between $3 to 6 billion a year in overall, annual savings for Pennsylvania taxpayers.