The San Diego
Regional Fire Foundation Presents

Command Post: San Diego

A unique look at Fire and Emergency Response in San Diego County: Meet the men and women who keep us safe, and learn more about what you can do to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Fire House 101

Additional 2019 Grants $51,000

To celebrate it's 30th birthday, the Foundation awarded an additional $51,000 in grants to local fire agencies for equipment and training.

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Prevention & Preparedness

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

We have provided $410,000 in grants to fire agencies to keep San Diegans and firefighters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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San Diego Spotlight

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

We have provided $410,000 in grants to fire agencies to keep San Diegans and firefighters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Regional Overview

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

We have provided $410,000 in grants to fire agencies to keep San Diegans and firefighters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Command Post: San Diego
CalFire Incidents
National Interagency Fire Center
(National Fire Tracking)
National Incident Information System
(Wildfire Tracking)
Ready San Diego
2-1-1 (San Diego)

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December Fire Foundation Chairman's Letter

In this issue:

Almost Every Grant We Give Can Save More Than One Life

Almost $16,000 grant to the Alpine Fire Protection District for cardiac monitor/defribrillator.

In 2016, we presented $280,000 in grants to San Diego County fire departments. These grants enable fire departments to obtain needed fire and medical/rescue equipment and to provide training to insure that our firefighters can deliver the highest level of service to all San Diego County communities. Since inception, the Fire Foundation has provided more than $5 million in funds to local fire agencies. Many of our grants save a life. 

For example, at the Alpine grant presentation, heart attack victim Germar Bernhard explained how he was clinically dead and was brought back to life “using an auto pulse purchased two years ago with a grant from the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation.”

$25,000 grant to the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District for their Elfin Forest volunteer fire station.

Contributions from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the San Diego Foundation, Grossmont Healthcare District, Southern California Edison, Supreme Master Ching Hai, Wawanesa Insurance and many individuals, including Fire Foundation board members, provided funding for these grants.

Grants included:

  • Alpine: cardiac monitor defibrillator
  • Julian/Cuyamaca: cardiac monitor defibrillator
  • Lakeside: Cedar Fire monument
  • Mount Laguna: cold weather firefighter clothing
  • Palomar Mountain: cold weather firefighter clothing
  • Pine Valley: thermal imaging camera
  • Rainbow: firefighter personal protective clothing
  • Ramona: CERT program support
  • Rancho Santa Fe: personal protective clothing for Elfin Forest volunteers
  • CAL FIRE: mass casualty kits for rural fire departments
  • San Diego County Fire Authority: AEDs and radio systems upgrades
  • San Diego County Office of Emergency Services: portable generators

Help us save lives throughout San Diego County. Donate today.


Why Aren’t Our Children Safe?

Vallecitos Elementary School children visiting the Rainbow Fire Department

Of all the calls firefighters receive, responding to a school where children are injured is one of the most traumatic. Especially if those injuries could have been prevented.

The Vallecitos Elementary School is making a real difference to the lives of students in Rainbow, an agricultural district just east of Fallbrook. Of the 6,000 Title 1 schools in California, Vallecitos won the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, making it one of the top 100 Title 1 schools in the State. The school has 200 students, 92% of which are from low income families. 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 is unable to pay for building repairs, and the children are in danger.

Wood ramps to the portables have rotten boards

For example:

  • Wood ramps to the 19 portable class rooms have loose, rotten boards that students could fall through
  • One classroom roof leaks badly
  • The lunch area cover has rotten wood, which could cause it to collapse during a windstorm or earthquake
  • Many classrooms have rotten and broken siding, which has allowed water to get into the building and caused mold.

Our goal is to fix these safety issues before an accident happens. We need your help to raise $75,000 for the most basic safety improvements. Contact Joan Jones at (619) 814-1352,, or choose the button below to donate online!

Roofs are also rotting

The Fire Foundation’s mission is to improve the system of fire and emergency services in San Diego County. We provide safety tips to help prevent fires and accidents, and we believe that since 80% of all fire department emergency calls are medical in nature, the Foundation should also actively focus on accident prevention.


Major Fire Department Improvements Coming

San Diego County has approved more than $5 million of additional annual financial support to its County Fire Authority. Starting in January 2017, this support will enable five rural fire stations, which have been manned with volunteer firefighters for more than 30 years, to be staffed with two full time firefighters from Cal Fire, one of which will be a paramedic, and supplemented by one or two reserve firefighters each day.

New type 6 fire engine at Palomar Mountain fire station

These five fire stations serve the communities of Harbison Canyon, Mt. Laguna, Palomar Mountain, Shelter Valley and Sunshine Summit. This change will help insure that these fire stations are manned each day, improve response times and provide for immediate paramedic services. Though the local volunteer fire departments will no longer be responsible for fire and medical services, the County’s new commitment will mean the residents of and visitors to each of these communities will benefit from the improvements which come with this change.

San Diego County, through its partner, CalFire, has already made similar improvement in services to many other rural communities including Boulevard, Deerhorn Valley, Intermountain (east of Ramona); and Jacumba. Other communities which already had CalFire stations have seen improvements as CalFire added paramedics to its fire engines.

THANKS to all our volunteer firefighters and their fire chiefs who have served their communities so well for many years and CONGRATULATIONS to our County officials for making these improvements financially possible for the benefit of all residents.

Just a little reminder to water your Christmas trees!

Holiday Shopping on Amazon?

Did you know that you can support our county's firefighters when you shop online at

By signing in through Amazon's "giving" link, Amazon Smile, you can designate a charity to which Amazon will donate .5% of your total purchase price, at no extra cost to you!

The first time you log in, Amazon will ask you to select your charity. We are listed as "The San Diego Regional Fire and Emergency Services Foundation." Any purchases you make through Amazon afterwards will assure a donation, as long as you go through the Amazon Smile link.

Please, show your support by trying it out this shopping season!


95-Year-Old Fire Chief Set to Retire

Greensburg, PA's fire chief of 63 years has decided not to run for a 22nd term. J. Edward Hutchinson, who turned 95 years old last month,joined the department in 1939 and became their chief 14 years later, with only one gap in service when he fought in WW II. The department is now a volunteer force of nearly 300.

His plan for the last day on the job? “I want to get on a horse and ride off like John Wayne into the sunset, and wave. I want a little humor.” He’s serious. “My wife says I can't ride a horse,” he said. “To hell I can't.”

Firefighter's Forethought Saves Lives in Gas Explosion

Dozens of lives were saved recently thanks to the quick thinking of Lt. Peter St. John. Responding to a gas leak in Portland, OR, St. John's intuition compelled him to position the fire trucks outside of the blast zone before running into the building and pulling fire alarms to alert those who had not yet evacuated.

He also had his firefighters don protective equipment before the blast because something “just didn’t feel right.” St. John suffered two broken legs when he, two other firefighters, two police officers, and three civilians were caught in the explosion that destroyed the building. Thankfully, no lives were lost, and none of the injuries were considered life-threatening,

“That man saved the lives of a lot of people today and a lot of firefighters,” Meyers said. “He had very good instincts…”

Critical Care Nurse Attacked by Shark Directs Rescuers and Assures His Survival

A Portland man surfing off the Oregon coast was bitten by a great white shark that left a 26-inch-long gash in his leg. Joseph Tanner punched the shark in the gills, the only place he could reach, and the shark released him. After paddling to shore, he instructed his rescuers on how to save his life. He told them to make a tourniquet out of a T-shirt, but it wasn’t tight enough, so then had them make another out of his surfboard leash. Using the surfboard like a backboard, they walked him to the parking lot, and he instructed them to call the ambulance with his blood type, then had them cut off his wet suit so that the paramedics could immediately start an IV. 

Three surgeries later, Tanner is improving. His recommendation to all surfers is to know how to tie a tourniquet and know your blood type. The precious minutes this buys can save your life.


Free Smoke Alarm Assistance for Seniors

Did you know that having a working smoke alarm in your residence decreases your chances of dying in a house fire by 50% percent? Yet, thousands of seniors throughout San Diego County live in homes without a working smoke alarm.

Our colleagues at the Burn Institute coordinate community volunteers and members of the fire service to install FREE lifesaving smoke alarms for qualified seniors in San Diego County.

To qualify for the Burn Institute’s Senior Smoke Alarm Program, seniors must be 62 years or older, own their own home, and live within San Diego County.

National safety statistics confirm that adults 65 and older are two times more likely to die in a house fire than any other segment of the population — and for those older than 75, the risk nearly quadruples. One way that seniors can improve their chances of escaping a home fire is to make sure they have a working smoke alarm.

The Burn Institute’s Senior Smoke Alarm Program is available to seniors year-round. Installations are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

Call Austin Duran, (858) 541-2277 ext. 13 or email:


Upcoming Events


February 4, 2017

Fire Burn Run 5k

March 9, 2017

Firefighter Boot Drive Burn Institute

Wishing you Joyful Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Frank Ault
Frank H. Ault
Board Chairman
Joan Jones
Executive Director
Copyright © 2016 San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, All rights reserved.
San Diego Regional Fire Foundation
A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization
TEL: (619) 814-1352
2508 Historic Decatur Road Suite 200,
San Diego, California 92106.
FAX: (619)239-1710