Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (FFIC) has launched the first wave of Fireman’s Fund Heritage, a community-based program that supports firefighters for safer communities.
San Diego County is the first community in the country to participate in this national initiative, which has earmarked more than $500,000 in grants for San Diego County fire departments in 2004.
To commemorate the launch, Fireman’s Fund CEO Jeff Post and local FFIC executives are presenting the first grants totaling $250,000 to local fire departments in a ceremony at the Firehouse Museum in downtown San Diego.
These grants will provide needed equipment, fire prevention tools and necessary training for local fire departments, as well as community fire safety education. The event, which is garnering attendance by local dignitaries, also marked the start of a strategic alliance between Fireman’s Fund and the Burn Institute for countywide fire and burn prevention activities.
“Our employees are excited to become a bigger part of your community by partnering with firefighters to help San Diego become more fire and burn safe,” said Post. “Firefighters devote their lives to keeping all of us safe. We hope that this program will be able to make their jobs a little easier.”
Firefighters and rescue workers across the country are reportedly facing increased demand on their services as a result of population growth and new threats. Despite this increased demand, fire departments face serious funding challenges leaving many volunteer and paid fire departments without the resources for adequate equipment or training. In San Diego, the wildfires of 2003 were reportedly a clear indicator of the increased need for firefighter support as well as fire and burn prevention and education.
FFIC, founded in 1863 on the commitment to pay 10 percent of its profits to the widows and orphans of firefighters, is renewing its commitment to the firefighting community with a long-term philanthropic mission to support firefighters for safer communities.
San Diego was chosen as the first community for Fireman’s Fund Heritage based on the firefighting needs in the community and because of the company’s strong employee, agent, and customer base in the area.
Fireman’s Fund Heritage invited all fire departments in San Diego County to submit proposals for funding through a request for proposal released in mid-February.
A special task force of local FFIC employees who live in the community evaluated the proposals and determined which departments would receive a portion of the $250,000 in funding. An outside advisory board comprised of fire chiefs added technical advice to the employee task force. A second RFP will be issued to fire departments in San Diego County later this year with up to an additional $250,000 in funding available.
Grants, totaling $255,042, were awarded to 15 volunteer and paid departments throughout San Diego County including:
*Mt. Laguna Volunteer Fire Department, Mt. Laguna, Calif. – $7,602 for firefighting equipment;
*Pine Valley Protection District, Pine Valley, Calif. – $9,000 for wildland protective gear;
*Montezuma Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Ranchita, Calif. – $10,000 for communications equipment;
*Valley Center Fire Protection District, Valley Center, Calif. – $10,000 for firefighting equipment;
*Bonita-Sunnyside Fire Protection District, Bonita, Calif. – $12,000 for communications equipment;
*Campo Fire and Rescue, Campo, Calif. – $13,124 for firefighting equipment;
*San Pasqual Fire Department, Escondido, Calif. – $15,000 for protective clothing;
*East County Fire Protection District, El Cajon, Calif. – $15,801 for lifesaving equipment;
*Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Fire Department, Escondido, Calif. – $18,000 for communications and firefighting equipment;
*Intermountain Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Ramona, Calif. – $20,000 for protective clothing and gear;
*Sunshine Summit Volunteer Fire Department, Warner Springs, Calif. – $2,000 for wildland fire retardants;
*Carlsbad Fire Department, Carlsbad, Calif. – $24,286 for communications equipment;
*Vista Fire Department, Vista, Calif. – $29,349 for communications equipment;
*El Cajon Fire Department, El Cajon, Calif. – $30,000 for wildland protective gear;
*Santee Fire Department, Santee, Calif. – $38,880 for wildland protective gear.
“There is a tremendous need in this community for firefighter support,” said Chris Seistrup, Fireman’s Fund Heritage San Diego task force leader, FFIC regional executive and vice president. “Evaluating the 35 proposals that we received was an amazing process that reiterated the importance of a program like this.”
To enhance fire and burn prevention education throughout the community, Fireman’s Fund Heritage is working with the Burn Institute to create an education campaign for San Diego residents. Residents will be able to take an online quiz to gauge their knowledge on fire and burn prevention techniques and participate in annual Burn Institute events including the Burn Run/Fire Expo and Firefighters Night at the Padres. Additional activities will run throughout the year.
Additional information about this program can be obtained by visiting www.firemansfund.com, or by calling the Fireman’s Fund Heritage General Information Line at 1-(866) 440-8716.
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