Firefighters battle more than just fires. Today, firefighters need the right equipment and tools to respond to all types of emergencies - from hazardous material incidents to medical emergencies - while still being equipped to fight fires. There are just some of the firefighting tools, equipment and training purchased with grants awarded through the Fireman's Fund Heritage Program®
Automated External Defibrilator
Automated External Defibrilator (AED)
An automated external defibrillator monitors a person's heartbeat, recognizes when they are experiencing cardiac arrest and tells the user to deliver a shock to the victim. An AED also uses illustrations to guide untrained rescue workers through the steps of the process.
A Case in Point One off-duty Linwood, NJ firefighter saved the life of a colleague when he collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest in his home. The firefighter was able to restore his colleague's pulse using an AED retrieved from a fire station only a block away. The device was donated only two months earlier.
When large-scale emergencies strike, emergency responders rely on their communications equipment to coordinate with other responders. Lives were lost on both September 11, 2001 and in the San Diego County wildfires in 2003 as a result of inadequate or incompatible radio communications between responders. These are only two illustrations of a serious issue. Fire departments and emergency responders need effective communications equipment to handle emergencies as safely as possible.
A Case in Point
The 2003 wildfires in San Diego County burned 376,237 acres. Firefighters were unable to communicate with each other on the fire lines. Improving radio communications is a focus of many local and federal agencies, but there is still a long way to go.
Computer Hardware and Software
Computerized Mapping Systems
Like nearly all organizations these days, computer and Internet capabilities are critical to the day-to-day functions of all fire departments. Specialized software requires updated systems, and long hours and rugged working environments require tougher hardware.
A Case in Point The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that for every 100 incidents of injury, 1,000,000 close-call incidents go unreported. With help from the Department of Homeland Security and Fireman's Fund, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is creating a Web-based system to track near-fatal accidents and reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities by improving training and operations. Updated computer hardware and software are critical to making this
For firefighters, global positioning technology isn't enough. Computerized mapping systems also use geographic information systems (GIS) that allow departments to see city streets, buildings, fire hydrants, water and sewer lines, and potential hazards prior to arrival at an emergency scene. They can also track the location of an emergency call - even from mobile phones - in a flash.
A Case in Point The Marin County Fire Chiefs Association in Calif. needed updated GIS capabilities to better address the residential expansion into rural areas of the the county. With newer GIS capabilities, Marin County emergency responders can pinpoint the location of a 9-1-1 call from cell phones. Fireman's Fund awarded the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association $120,000 for a two-phase computerized mapping equipment upgrade.
Extrication equipment picks up where airbags, bumpers and other safety features can no longer help. This equipment uses hydraulic technology to free a victim from a vehicle accident by cutting open the vehicle.
A Case in Point According to the Woodstock, Ga. Fire Department, rescue workers strive to deliver critically injured automobile accident victims to the emergency room within the "Golden Hour," the time period after which a victim's chances of survival decrease dramatically. Without the proper extrication equipment, this goal becomes difficult to achieve.
Fire Fighting Equipment
Fire engines (also known as "fire apparatus") are the most visible and recognizable symbols of the fire service. They also are one of the most critical pieces of equipment - fast-moving toolboxes that go wherever firefighters go.
A Case in Point
The first fire engine in the U.S. was imported from England and was drawn by horses. Up to 10 firefighters were needed to work the engine's piston water pump. Fire engines effectively replaced the previous firefighting method of passing buckets of water.
In an emergency, every second counts. Fire helicopters are critical tools when emergencies or fires occur in rough terrain, terrible traffic or in other locations difficult for fire engines to reach.
The City of San Diego bought a $3.7 million firefighting helicopter in 2004 following the wildfires in San Diego County that charred more than 376,000 acres. Prior to that, the county was forced to lease the same type of helicopter with funds raised by private, hard-to-come-by donations.
Firefighters trapped by flames rely upon fire shelters as their last hope. Essentially, they are tents that reflect heat and provide a space for the firefighter to breathe - a shelter that is especially critical in unpredictable wildfires. Though mandatory for most firefighters, they can be used only once and updating and replacing inventory is expensive.
The El Cajon, Calif. Fire Department has fought several devastating wildfires in recent years, making equipment such as fire shelters vital to its firefighters' welfare. Outdated shelters were putting firefighters' lives at risk. Fireman's Fund awarded the department funds to help purchase new fire shelters.
Firefighter Health and Wellness Funding
Firefighting is one of the most stressful and physically demanding occupations. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among firefighters. Studies have shown that maintaining health and wellness is critically important to firefighters' ability to do the job safely.
A Case in Point Fireman's Fund Heritage awarded $175,000 to the National Volunteer Fire Council's Heart-Healthy Firefighter educational program. The program's goal is to reduce heart-related on-duty firefighter deaths by 25 percent in 2005.
Fire Safety House
Outreach Materials and Smoke Detectors
CERT Program The truth: There are never enough fire department resources to respond to large-scale emergency events. The good news is that citizens want to help. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are comprised of community members (non-firefighters) trained in basic disaster response skills.
A Case in Point Created by the City of Los Angeles following the Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987, the CERT program expanded nationwide in 1993. In 2002, the program was incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen Corp.
Fire Safety House
Children learn best through experience. Many fire departments offer hands-on training through fire safety houses custom-built interactive fire, smoke and severe weather simulators that can be taken to schools and public events.
A Case in Point Fireman's Fund donated a mobile Fire Safety House and towing vehicle to the Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office. This will better equip the state to reach its children and adults, particularly in Metro Atlanta. Additionally, Fireman's Fund donated the first-of-its-kind fire safety RV to the City of Chicago Fire Department to help the department educate the community.
Educating citizens about fire safety is one of the easiest ways to prevent fire and burn injuries. Brochures, magnets and other pieces can help fire departments reach out to children and communities with critical information. Smoke detector distribution programs, especially in lower income areas, can make a significant difference in the severity of fires and greatly reduce fire fatalities.
A Case in Point
Public education programs are typically the first items cut from strapped budgets. In response, Fireman's Fund has supported various fire prevention programs, including smoke detector installations and community education events.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Whenever a firefighter enters a burning structure, he or she is potentially exposed to numerous deadly substances, including smoke, fumes and chemicals. The Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus is the facemask and air cylinder worn by firefighters, letting them breathe in even hazardous situations.
A Case in Point According to the Newnan, Ga. Fire Department, most firefighters who die while wearing SCBAs might have survived with more air. Nonetheless, the department couldn't afford updated equipment. Fireman's Fund awarded Newnan $23,065 for a system that refills SCBA air tanks
Thermal Imaging Cameras
Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) Thermal Imaging Cameras use infrared technology to help firefighters and rescue workers "see" through smoke, darkness, fog, dense vegetation, fire and walls to find people and fire sources. A common use for TICs is to quickly and easily locate a fire's origin without causing unnecessary damage.
A Case in Point In August 2004, Fireman's Fund donated 16 TICs to the City of Atlanta Fire Department at a total retail value of $197,000. The department's Captain William May says that the TIC is the first item they grab when going to a fire scene.
Turnout gear (also known as Personal Protective Equipment or PPE) is the fire-resistant equipment firefighters wear to protect themselves in a fire. Weighing between 50-70 pounds even without tools, the gear includes a turnout coat and pants made from fire-resistant material, helmet, protective hood, goggles, hearing protection and boots.
The Jonesboro, Ga. Volunteer Fire Department was in dire need of replacing its turnout gear for its firefighters. A great majority of its gear was old and worn, putting firefighters' lives at risk. Fireman's Fund employees awarded the department $14,000 to purchase 10 sets of turnout gear.
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company was founded in 1863 with a mission to donate a portion of its profits to support the fire service. We continue that tradition today through our Heritage Program® by awarding grants to fire service organizations for needed equipment, firefighter training and communication education programs. Funding is allocated in partnership with our employees and independent insurance agents, who assist in the direction of the grants.
Fireman’s Fund reserves the right to change the Heritage Program rules, regulations, awards and special offers, or to terminate the Heritage Program -- including Heritage Rewards® -- at any time without notice. The accumulation of Heritage Rewards points does not entitle an independent agency to any vested rights with respect to any awards or program benefits. The Heritage Rewards program is subject to government regulations, including the rules and regulations in each state in which it participates