During the first 20 years of our existence, IMWCA experienced a large number of severe firefighter claims. In response, we consulted with fire chiefs across the state and implemented our firefighter criteria in 2001.

In short, the criteria works. More firefighters return home from their calls safely and IMWCA is able to provide affordable, quality workers’ compensation coverage and services to nearly 300 fire departments across the state.

If you are applying for IMWCA coverage and your city has a paid or volunteer fire department, your department must agree to comply with the following criteria to become members of IMWCA. The Fire Department Criteria Agreement will need to be included with the application for IMWCA to release a quote.

These Items are Required as a Condition of Coverage:

  1. All existing members will pass a physical examination, as set out in the model IMWCA Physician’s Assessment form, every five years. The department shall maintain an active roster of the firefighters with the date of their last physical and provide copies of the Physician’s Assessment form or other approved documentation to IMWCA upon request of the firefighters’ status. Prospective department members must take a physical examination prior to appointment to the department and then every 5 years thereafter.

    For departments looking to join IMWCA, all physicals must be done within the first three years of membership and then every five years thereafter.
  2. written respiratory protection plan requiring firefighters who wear respirators to meet OSHA-required standards, including a satisfactory spirometry test.

    The average cost of a firefighter physical is estimated at $200, for an annual cost of $40 per firefighter over five years. As our members often see a 30% premium decrease when moving to IMWCA, this savings typically more than covers the cost of the firefighter physicals.

Suggested Best Practices:

  1. A written blood-borne pathogen exposure control plan.
  2. Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Operations level training for at least 25% of the department.
  3. Provide Confined Space Rescue Training and maintain a written procedure in place.
  4. A written respiratory protection plan requiring firefighters who wear respirators to meet OSHA-required standards, including a satisfactory spirometry test, if required by the reviewing physician.
  5. Also, if your fire department has or is considering a junior or cadet firefighter program, please complete the junior/cadet firefighter program assessment form.

    After implementing these best practices into their departmental operations, departments report increased efficiency while IMWCA’s research shows fire departments had fewer firefighter injuries and have saved thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation premiums.

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