Firefighters Join California Fire Foundation To Offer On-The-Spot Aid To Fire And Disaster Victims

Firefighters in dozens of California communities can now help families victimized by fire or natural disaster take a small first step toward rebuilding their lives.

Lou SB SAVESupplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) offers on-the-spot aid to families and individuals who suffer substantial property loss in a fire, earthquake or other disaster. Created and funded by the non-profit California Fire Foundation, SAVE provides participating departments with MasterCard gift cards that can be activated at the scene so victims and their families can get a hot meal, buy some clothes or maybe someplace to stay the night.

“In the first 24 hours after a fire or disaster, victims need a lot of things in a short amount of time,” said Lou Paulson, chair of the California Fire Foundation and a retired Contra Costa firefighter. “SAVE gives firefighters a way to help people through what is often the worst day of their lives.”

The $100 SAVE cards are carried by local battalion chiefs to every residential fire and disaster call. If occupancy loss is 25 percent or more of total value, a SAVE card can be activated right at the scene. Thirty California fire departments have signed up to participate in SAVE. To date, more than 45 families have already been helped.

“As first responders, we’re in a unique position to offer a little extra ‘arm around the shoulder’ at a very tough time,” said Michael Duree, chief of the Long Beach Fire Department. “SAVE lets us offer that support.”

SAVE card“We’ve all been there in the middle of the night when there’s a family in their bathrobes and bare feet and they have nothing,” added Brian Rice, president of Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522. “We can’t restore all they’ve lost, but we can help them through those first difficult 24 hours.”

Funding for SAVE comes entirely from the California Fire Foundation – no taxpayer dollars are spent. Most of the donations to the Foundation come from California firefighters themselves. Additional corporate support for SAVE comes from Chevron. Every California fire department is eligible to participate in SAVE.
The California Fire Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization assisting fallen firefighter families, firefighters and the communities they protect. Formed in 1987, the Foundation provides an array of survivor and victim assistance projects and community initiatives.See press coverage from media events in Long Beach and Santa Barbara.