USA– CA- Imagine a young family stands at the curb, as firefighters battle a blaze that has engulfed their home. Theyre a live, but heartsick as they watch their life they knew go up in flames before their eyes.
As the first responders, it is firefighters who are called upon to provide comfort to such a family on the worst day of their lives. Now, a new partnership- Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) – allows our firefighters to help those victims take their first step towards healing. Funded by the California Fire Foundation through private donations, SAVE lets incident commanders on scene of a disaster offer immediate financial assistance to victims who suffer a substantial property loss.
When someone loses their home in a fire or disaster, theyre usually in a state of shock- they dont know where to turn, said Penn Valley Fire District Chief Don Wagner. As first responders, were in a unique position to offer a little extra arm around the shoulder to help victims get through a very tough time.
Under the innovative program, designated incident commanders (IC) carry $100 SAVE gift cards on calls that threaten significant property damage. If the property loss is judged to be 25% or greater the IC is authorized to immediately issue a SAVE card to the individual or family affected by the disaster. At a time when may have also lost credit cards, IDs and other essential, the SAVE card allows them to purchase medicine, a hot meal, some clothes or maybe a place to stay the night.
Firefighters have a personal investment in the outcome of every call- we want to be there to provide whatever support we can for disaster victims. said President Clayton Thomas of the Nevada County Professional Firefighters, Local 3800. We cant replace all that they lost, but a SAVE card can help a victim through those first, tough, 24 hours and maybe make them feel less lost and alone.
The SAVE program was developed in partnership with the California Fire Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit foundation dedicated to providing comfort and support to fallen firefighter families and the communities they serve. Funding for the SAVE program was provided through private donations and sponsorship from the Chevron, Inc. The California Fire Foundation continues to seek donations and sponsorships to bring SAVE cards to more communities and, eventually, increase the face value of the cards.
Firefighters do what we do because of a desire to serve, said Lou Paulson, chair of the California Fire Foundation and a retired Contra Costa firefighter with nearly three decades on the front lines. By offering SAVE cards to those who have lost so much, the Penn Valley Fire District firefighters are able to continue providing comfort and support after the fire is out.
SAVE is open to all California fire departments. Participating departments must agree to a Memorandum of Understanding.