Minnesota Department of Public Safety Makes Historic Ruling

By George Esbensen, MnFIRE Board President

In a landmark decision, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has ruled that Maple Grove and St. Paul Fire Captain Michael Paidar died in the line of duty. Captain Paidar died from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, on August 26, 2020, at age 53.

The decision by Commissioner John Harrington last week marks a historical first for the Minnesota Fire Service: A Minnesota Public Safety Officer Death Benefit has never before been awarded to a person who died from cancer.

In a letter to Captain Paidar’s family, Commissioner Harrington cited a number of considerations leading to the decision, including medical studies linking the number of a firefighter’s fire hours to leukemia mortality, his age and his primary physician’s statement.

“Having been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years, I understand the dangers facing public safety officers each day,” Commissioner Harrington wrote. “And it appears that in your husband’s case, the danger was not solely an immediate one. As such, I believe his death falls within the intended definition of ‘killed in the line of duty’ recognized by this state and will be certified as such.

All of us at MnFIRE continue to reflect on the loss of Captain Paidar and honor his years of dedicated public service. Please join us in expressing our gratitude to everyone who worked on behalf of Captain Paidar’s wife and children, particularly IAFF Local 21 and the Minnesota Professional Firefighters. This is an incredible step forward for Captain Paidar’s family and for all firefighters struggling with fire service-driven cancers.

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On behalf of MnFIRE and HealthPartners, Chief Resident Physician of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Dominic Dabrowski presented insights about our Critical Illness Program at the 2024 International Firefighter Cancer Symposium in Miami.

The significant number of cancer claims we see suggest the ongoing need for this benefit for Minnesota firefighters, and for more research to better understand the challenging epidemiology of firefighters and cancer.

Thanks to the Firefighter Cancer Initiative for hosting this important event!

#ifcs2024 #ExtinguishCancer
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On behalf of MnFIRE and HealthPartners, Chief Resident Physician of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Dominic Dabrowski presented insights about our Critical Illness Program at the 2024 International Firefighter Cancer Symposium in Miami.

The significant number of cancer claims we see suggest the ongoing need for this benefit for Minnesota firefighters, and for more research to better understand the challenging epidemiology of firefighters and cancer.

Thanks to the Firefighter Cancer Initiative for hosting this important event!

#ifcs2024 #ExtinguishCancerImage attachmentImage attachment

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Thank you for attending this year's IFCS and for sharing your important research with us! Let's stay connected!

It would be interesting to See data on retired firefighters, as the time following exposure might be longer.

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MnFIRE President George Esbensen spoke at the Midwest Business Group on Health's workforce mental health forum this week about the impact of the innovative mental health benefits available to Minnesota firefighters for free through the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program.

We're grateful to have these resources, and to take care of one another, in the face of all the stress and anxiety that comes with the fire service. Learn more at mnfireinitiative.com/hhap/#MAP.
... See MoreSee Less

MnFIRE President George Esbensen spoke at the Midwest Business Group on Healths workforce mental health forum this week about the impact of the innovative mental health benefits available to Minnesota firefighters for free through the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program. 

Were grateful to have these resources, and to take care of one another, in the face of all the stress and anxiety that comes with the fire service. Learn more at https://mnfireinitiative.com/hhap/#MAP.

Last week MnFIRE peer supporters and MnFIRE Assistance Program network providers came together for a Living Works SafeTalk workshop – a suicide prevention skills training – where they learned how to better recognize when someone might be thinking about suicide and how to keep them safe by promptly connecting them to further support.

We all can make a difference with suicide prevention, and learning the skills to reach in and have a conversation is a crucial step.

#suicideprevention #LivingWorks #PeerSupport
... See MoreSee Less

Last week MnFIRE peer supporters and MnFIRE Assistance Program network providers came together for a Living Works SafeTalk workshop – a suicide prevention skills training – where they learned how to better recognize when someone might be thinking about suicide and how to keep them safe by promptly connecting them to further support.

We all can make a difference with suicide prevention, and learning the skills to reach in and have a conversation is a crucial step.

#suicideprevention #LivingWorks #peersupport
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