As the wife of a Fire Marshall, let me explain the early retirement. It is because they DIE EARLY DEATHS ! All of the burning plastics they inhale, well the lung cancer rates are sky high as well as other premature cancers. But hey, not really a "risky" job from some people.
Sadly so freaking true... my husband a VERY dedicated and active firefighter as a volunteer and career firefighter died at THIRTY FIVE.
The cancer that caused his death was melanoma. In a bunch of states any cancer is considered presumptive (presumed caused by firefighting) for firefighters... a number of states mention by name melanoma or skin cancer as cause by firefighting. But my husband was a firefighter in Maryland where apparently fires in Maryland don't cause melanoma (like they do in the other states). I have been fighting for years for a measly workers compensation case so maybe I can afford to pay for a portion of my son's college or maybe not lose the farm.
It would be nice if firefighters and their widows/widowers and children had better protection and didn't end up with nothing or stressed out with court cases that drag on for years. Take for example 9/11-- look at how much people had to fight and how it got dragged out in the courts for years to get some protection after 9/11-- people suffered and died while that got dragged out.
It would be nice if there was more of a focus on how to protect and preserve our firefighters from cancer... a simple shower does wonders to remove carcinogens... but yet putting away equipment and washing trucks is more important.
YES, I think there should be a holiday to celebrate firefighters, police, EMS. But more than a holiday, we need to focus on safety for our public defenders... we need to keep them safe, alive, and healthy!!! If you want a holiday, get rid of Columbus Day... make 9/11 a federal holiday and use it to celebrate all of those who are heroes in our life- from firefighters to teachers!