Unlike their city firefighter brethren, heavy air-tanker pilots and crew are contractors who don't qualify for the PSOB (Public Safety Officer Benefit) that is extended to families of firefighters who die in the line of duty. Currently, the PSOB payout stands at $275,000, money which has been denied to the families of over 150 pilots who have died fighting fires over the years. HR1232 (in the House) and S1143 (in the Senate) titled "The Aerial Firefighter Relief Act of 2005" extend the PSOB to air-tanker pilots.
These bills are already in Congress, so no one has to vote on them. Let your representatives know you want these bills passed at www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and www.house.gov/writerep. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org