Addressing Unique Needs Is Our Specialty!
The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation is nimble. We are unique in our ability to identify and assist with extraordinary needs that are brought to our attention. We have assisted with everything from keeping our firefighters working safely during the COVID pandemic, to repairing unsafe conditions at an underprivileged school, to helping a local tribe obtain over $275,000 for critically needed equipment.
COVID: Keeping firefighters and the public safe during the pandemic
It was of paramount importance throughout the pandemic to keep firefighters healthy and able to respond to those in need. During this time, the Foundation provided firefighters in the County with personal protective equipment (PPE), including self-contained breathing apparatus, sanitizing supplies, and extractors to clean PPEs of chemicals, blood, and viruses. The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation raised over $400,000 to assist in this effort, including a substantial donation from the San Diego Foundation, a local charitable organization.
“Firefighters are first responders for all medical calls, including for patients with COVID-19. The San Diego Foundation was pleased to provide $225,000 from the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation to protect our firefighters from contracting COVID-19 from their patients, but also to keep their medical equipment and clothing sanitized so the COVID-19 virus would not get transmitted to other patients or firefighters.”
Mark Stuart, San Diego Foundation President & CEO
Below are examples of some of the equipment the Fire Foundation provided and how it keeps our heroes safe.
Cal Fire Captain Nick Johnson explains the benefit of the Powered Air Purifying Respirators equipment provided by the Fire Foundation.
“I was proud to see the extractor in full use this morning (November 18, 2020) as crews needed to wash their turnouts after they responded to a fatal traffic collision yesterday. Their PPE was contaminated and needed the extractor for the proper cleaning,”
Valley Center Previous Division Chief Jeff Chumbley
“I want to share that the foggers are keeping everyone safe. We use them in and around our stations and most recently in our FLU Clinic at Station 34”.
Frank Parra, Chief of Emergency Services, National City Fire Department
The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation wants to thank the fire agencies in San Diego County and San Diego County’s Health and Human Services, which all played crucial roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including leading a community wide vaccination program that began in late 2020. The partnership between local fire and San Diego County health agencies built the framework to move the vaccination process for San Diegans forward.
See Operation Collaboration in action
Vallecitos Elementary School: Keeping Students Safe!
During a Fire Foundation visit to the Rainbow fire station just east of Fallbrook, the firefighters indicated that there were major safety issues at the Vallecitos Elementary School a block from the station.
Vallecitos Elementary School is making a real difference in the lives of students. Vallecitos won the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, making it one of the top 100 Title 1 schools in the State (out of 6,000 Title 1 schools in California!). The school has 225 pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students, 92% of whom are from low-income families. The school is in a poor agricultural area with mostly Hispanic students, many of whom speak English as a second language. The kids are studying hard to learn lessons that will help them succeed in life. Unfortunately, due to the low tax base in that area, the school was unable to pay for needed repairs, and the children were in danger.
Upon visiting the school, the condition of many buildings, which were built in the 1950’s, was shocking. We found:
Wood ramps to the portable classrooms had rotten boards
Roofs were also rotting
- Many classrooms had leaky roofs, rotten and broken siding, which had allowed water to get into the building and caused mold.
- Wood ramps to the 19 portable classrooms had loose, rotten boards that students could fall through.
- The lunch area cover had rotten wood, which could have caused it to collapse during a windstorm or earthquake.
- The playground equipment was dangerous with wood splinters.
- The AED in the office area was non-functional.
The Fire Foundation raised over $90,000 for the repairs. Once the repairs were made, a local church brought in volunteers and painted the entire school.
Supporting a local Tribe with much needed equipment
Since 2008, the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation has provided a fire engine and other equipment to support the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians Fire Department. We are continuing to support them as they design and build their new fire station.
The La Jolla Reservation was hard hit by the Poomacha Fire in 2007, which burned 49,410 acres and 38 homes. The Reservation only had old, used fire engines. In 2008, the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation was able to secure a $223,000 grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago for them to purchase a new fire engine. That fire engine is still in service today, protecting the reservation and surrounding areas of north San Diego County.
In 2015, the La Jolla Reservation was able to secure a safety grant of $534,180 for firefighter protective equipment, breathing apparatus, and hose from the US Department of Transportation for protecting Highway 76 in their area. The grant came with a requirement of a $51,000 match. The Reservation did not have these funds, so with less than a week before the grant deadline, they contacted the Fire Foundation for help, and we were able to secure the needed funds from SDG&E in time for the Reservation to get the full grant.
We will continue to support the La Jolla Reservation as they build their new fire station on this vacant land on their property.