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Will fewer workers' compensation claims follow new act?

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act. The goal of this law is to provide better protection for firefighters nationwide who are only too familiar with the threats posed by wildfires, and it will also limit workers' compensation claims. Authorities say that 14,000 firefighters battled fires in California during the past summer. Although wildfires in California are not unusual, five firefighters lost their lives during fires over the past year.

One of the tools provided by the new law will see firefighter crews equipped with GPS locators, and they will utilize the mandatory use of drones to scout wildfires and map them. Drones and GPS locators used simultaneously are expected to increase firefighter safety significantly. It is further stipulated that these requirements apply to all firefighter crews, including local, state and federal.

Furthermore, in the upcoming wildfire season, every significant wildfire will have a meteorologist assigned to provide smoke forecasts. In recent years, wildfire smoke has had a severe impact on communities, and projections can limit the adverse effects on tourism and public health. An injury database will also be maintained to record fatalities and injuries suffered by firefighters to assist in future training and strategic planning.

While the new bill might lead to fewer deaths of California firefighters, injuries will likely never be eliminated. Fortunately, the state-regulated workers' compensation will always be there to have the backs of injured workers. Legal counsel is available for those victims who need support and guidance through the navigation of benefits claims. Along with medical expenses, lost wages will also be covered. In the sad event of a firefighter's death, the surviving family members can claim death benefits to cover end-of-life expenses.

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