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San Diego Spotlight

We are keeping local communities & firefighters COVID-19 safe with $410,000 of equipment grants

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July 8, 2020 – The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation (Fire Foundation) announced today that it has provided $410,000 in grants to local fire agencies to keep San Diegans and firefighters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firefighter wearing self-contained-breathing-apparatusLike other emergency medical professionals, social distancing is not an option for firefighters. “We must do everything we can to support firefighter safety and ensure they have the resources to decontaminate the equipment they use to protect San Diegans. If our firefighters and their equipment are not protected, their patients and our communities are at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus,” said Joan Jones, Executive Director of the Fire Foundation.

Nationally, more than 13,000 first responders have been exposed to and quarantined due to the coronavirus. 700 firefighters in the U.S. have tested positive and about 40 have died.

“The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation appreciates the partnership of the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund and SDG&E in helping to provide these substantial grants that support the safety of our first responders,” Jones noted.

“Firefighters often die from cancer and other diseases stemming from their exposure to chemicals, blood, and viruses. This grant enables us to acquire an extractor, a machine to clean firefighters’ protective clothing of all such elements, as well as to purchase foggers, UV lights, and cleaning supplies to keep all our equipment, emergency vehicles, and our stations free of the COVID-19 virus, protecting all our patients and firefighters,” said Joe Napier, Valley Center Fire Protection District Chief.

Responding to news of the grant, Mike Sims, Bonita Sunnyside Fire Protection District Chief said, “Whether entering a burning building to rescue a person or treating a patient with COVID-19 or any other contagious disease, where six-feet of separation is impossible, having firefighter protective breathing apparatus is the best way to keep our firefighters safe and enable them to do their job effectively. This grant is the best news I have heard all year!”

Frank Ault, Fire Foundation Board Chairman announced, “To better serve our residents and firefighters in the rural portions of San Diego County, we are pleased to provide 50 COVID-19 respirators, with adaptors and filters, for the safety of our firefighters; and newer technology mapping systems with more detailed information to reduce response times to 48 rural fire stations operated by the San Diego County Fire Authority, Cal Fire, and smaller tribal fire departments. These fire departments protect over 50% of our County from De Luz to Sunshine Summit to Shelter Valley to Jamul.”

Funding from the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation was provided for the following equipment:

  • Bonita – Sunnyside Fire Protection District: Firefighter breathing apparatus
  • Deer Springs Fire Protection District: Firefighter breathing apparatus and anti-virus firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Escondido Fire Department: Sanitization equipment and supplies, air purifying filters
  • Imperial Beach Fire Department: Sanitization equipment and supplies, PPE
  • National City Fire Department: Sanitization equipment and supplies
  • North County Fire Protection District: Firefighter PPE cleaning equipment, air purifying filters
  • Ramona Fire Department: Firefighter personal communication equipment
  • Pauma Reservation Fire Department: Sanitization supplies and masks
  • Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (Elfin Forest Volunteer Station): “Jaws of Life”
  • Rural Fire Stations: Firefighter breathing apparatus with air purifiers
  • Rural Fire Stations: Electronic wall maps and map books
  • San Marcos Fire Department: Sanitization supplies, air purifying filters
  • Valley Center Fire Protection District: Firefighter PPE cleaning machine, sanitization equipment, cleaning supplies

Rancho Santa Fe Firefighters with the Jaws-of-life equipment“While significant attention is properly placed on COVID-19 issues, fires, accidents, and medical emergencies still occur daily. This grant enables us to purchase the new technology, battery powered, and more powerful ‘Jaws of Life’, to help our Elfin Forest station’s volunteer firefighters save the lives of those in serious automobile accidents on our rural curvy dark roads in that community,” explained Fred Cox, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District Chief.  Contributions from the San Diego County Supervisors, The San Diego Foundation, and SDG&E have made funding for the jaws of life possible.