Hearings Begin On Benefits For Families Of Deceased Seasonal Firefighters

September 17, 2013

Tuesday afternoon an Arizona House Committee will hold the first of an expected series of hearings into the issue of benefits for seasonal firefighters. Some of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire were seasonal employees, meaning their survivors are not entitled to the same benefits as full-time employees.

Representative Justin Pierce of Mesa chairs the committee holding the hearing. He says it’s tough to predict what lawmakers might be willing to approve, but thinks there are some solutions out there.

“Going forward, how do we better prepare for this sort of a tragedy?” Pierce said. “Maybe some reinsurance or an insurance-type pool that could protect against this sort of an unexpected increase in cost.”

Pierce expects to hold between three and four hearings over the next couple of months into different aspects of this issue. Today’s hearing will include presentations from representatives of the Arizona State Retirement System and the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.