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A Milestone for Minnesota Firefighter Health

It’s a land­mark and emo­tion­al day for Minnesota’s fire ser­vice and for us at Bell­mont Part­ners: Our state leg­is­la­ture passed the Home­town Heroes Assis­tance Pro­gram, which ensures that every Min­neso­ta fire­fight­er will have access to edu­ca­tion, pre­ven­tion and care need­ed to han­dle a car­diac, emo­tion­al trau­ma or can­cer diag­no­sis. We are grate­ful to be a part of the team that helped make this hard-fought win hap­pen, led by our client the Min­neso­ta Fire­fight­er Ini­tia­tive (MnFIRE).

Gov­er­nor Walz signed the bill into law yes­ter­day, in the shad­ow of the Min­neso­ta Fall­en Fire­fight­er Memo­r­i­al – where our part­ner­ship with the state’s fire ser­vice began 10 years ago. In 2011, we start­ed work­ing with the Min­neso­ta Fire Ser­vice Foun­da­tion on a pro bono basis to build aware­ness and raise $700,000 to move the state’s fire­fight­er memo­r­i­al from its orig­i­nal home – hid­den near the bag­gage claim at MSP Inter­na­tion­al Air­port – to where it stands today, on the State Capi­tol grounds.

In 2016, we helped launch MnFIRE, the statewide advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion that equips fire­fight­ers and the peo­ple who care about them with resources to address the grow­ing health cri­sis in the Min­neso­ta fire ser­vice. From mes­sag­ing to media rela­tions, design to events, we’ve been hon­ored to work with MnFIRE every step of the way.

Over the years, we’ve griev­ed with fire­fight­ers and their fam­i­lies at funer­als, cel­e­brat­ed mile­stones as we’ve tak­en steps to get clos­er to ful­fill­ing MnFIRE’s mis­sion, and worked to help arm our state’s 20,000 fire­fight­ers with the tools and train­ing they need to pri­or­i­tize and pro­tect their health. Near­ly every Bell­mont Part­ners team mem­ber has played a role, and we could not be more proud that our col­lec­tive work has changed – and saved – lives.

While a few final details are still being worked out, the Home­town Heroes Assis­tance Pro­gram will:

  • Pro­vide a statewide “Crit­i­cal Care” pol­i­cy for all Min­neso­ta fire­fight­ers which cov­ers diag­noses of can­cer or car­diac issues. Cov­er­age amount is $20,000 per diagnosis.
  • Cre­ate a MnFIRE Assis­tance Pro­gram (MnAP) for all Min­neso­ta fire­fight­ers tar­get­ing emo­tion­al trau­ma issues unique to the fire ser­vice, and ensure addi­tion­al sup­port for fire­fight­ers who remain in need beyond ini­tial treat­ment sessions.
  • Sup­port ongo­ing annu­al MnFIRE Aware­ness train­ing for every Min­neso­ta fire­fight­er. Chang­ing the cur­rent cul­ture in the Min­neso­ta Fire Ser­vice is inte­gral to long-term reduc­tion of the inci­dences of car­diac issues, emo­tion­al trau­ma and cancer.
  • Sus­tain annu­al MnFIRE Aware­ness Train­ing for med­ical doc­tors and men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als statewide so all fire­fight­ers in Min­neso­ta have region­al access to informed and trained med­ical pro­fes­sion­als to help with pre­ven­tion, mit­i­ga­tion, diag­no­sis and treat­ment of car­diac issues, emo­tion­al trau­ma and cancer.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to every­one who con­tributed their time, exper­tise, pas­sion and resources toward mak­ing this impor­tant ini­tia­tive a real­i­ty. We feel priv­i­leged to be a part of the team.

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