Our most important ongoing initiative is to build public awareness about the needs of the Denver Fire Department and Denver Firefighters – particularly those needs that are not met through the City budget. This year the Denver Fire Department Foundation is focused on campaigns to support projects in three major areas of concern: Firefighter Safety: Protective Gear & Promethian Boards; Fire Safety: Prevention and Escape; and Citizen Disaster Response Training.
#1: Firefighter Safety: Protective Gear & Promethian Boards
In these tough times, governments across our nation have felt the budget axe. In our own community, our first responders have given as the best public servants always have, voluntarily reducing their pay. But as a community, we know we must step up when it comes to public safety, and to the safety of the uniformed men and women who are always willing to risk all for our health and welfare.
On November 24, 2008, a new federal regulation went into effect requiring anyone working in the right-of-way of a federal highway wear high-visibility clothing that meets the requirements of ANSI/ISEA107:2004 edition class 2 or 3. This requirement includes emergency responders. Although the Denver Fire Department had previously acquired safety vests, they do not meet the updated standard.
In order to purchase enough safety vests to provide one for every riding position and to accommodate the additional members in official vehicles that have a duty to act when they happen upon an event, the Denver Fire Department Foundation is requesting your help in raising the $8,600 needed to acquire these vests.
The Denver Fire Department Foundation recently secured a federal matching grant for $225,000 from the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA to provide new turnout gear (also known as bunking gear) to 263 Denver firefighters. Before we received this grant, Denver firefighters were wearing older, less advanced protective gear. As a result, on-scene commanders had to concern themselves with whether or not firefighters on the scene were adequately protected as well as equally protected.
The Denver Fire Department uses a maximum 10-year guideline for replacement of bunking equipment with a goal of replacing the equipment every 7-8 years. Fire departments, like the DDF, that respond to a higher-than-average call volume (80,000 responses/year), should plan for replacement on the 7-8 year cycle. Because of Denver’s budget crunch, only support from private sector donors can allow the DFD to provide all firefighters with the protective gear they need when they need it.
The Denver Fire Department Foundation organization has committed to supporting the City of Denver’s $57,000/20% match participation in the grant. The new bunkers are made with PBI and were selected by the Denver Fire Department to meet new standards and address the needs of an extended length of service.
Providing Promethian Boards as tools for disseminating information and training for this Wellness and Fitness Initiative will be one of the most significant commitments to the individual firefighter in the history of the Denver Fire Department. This will enhance firefighter performance, reduce line of duty injuries, prevent premature death and improve the quality of life. Not only will the lives of the firefighters be dramatically improved, but also the community will feel the positive impact. When firefighters are physically fit, the community is safer.
The acquisition of this next generation of teaching technology will also support better interactive delivery of training sessions, thereby better serving the differing learning opportunities of our ethnically, gender and age diverse population. Smart Technology could also become a cornerstone component of interactive incident management training.
To date, the Denver Fire Department Foundation has raised the following funds towards the $15,000 needed for the purchase of the first round of Promethian Boards:
$7000 Morgridge Family Foundation
$2500 Mile High United Way
$2000 Cherry Creek Shopping Center
#2 Fire Safety Awareness: Prevention & Escape
Home Fire Escape Plan.
More Americans die in home fires each year than all natural disasters combined. Home fires resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people in 2005. Children are particularly vulnerable, especially those under 5, who are twice as likely to die in a fire as the rest of the population. Children 14 and under account for 20% of fire deaths.
- Only 23% of American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- 7 in 10 parents say their children are less than fully prepared to escape and survive a home fire.
- 84 percent of parents admit they do not frequently discuss fire safety with their children.
- 7.3 million grade-school-age children care for themselves on a regular basis without any adult supervision.
To meet the goal of providing more information and developing a user-friendly format for today’s children which addresses 21st century skills, the Denver Fire Department Foundation has developed a beta test website – homefireescapeplan.org – where students can virtually map their home and develop an escape plan.
SAFE Campaign For Seniors.
Senior citizens age 65-75 are nearly twice as likely to die in a home fire as younger adults and at age 85 that number doubles. Seniors over the age of 85 are four times more likely to die in a home fire. These alarming statistics are even more concerning when you consider that by 2030 the 65 and older population will exceed 70 million.
The Denver Fire Department Foundation is partnering with FEMA Fire Prevention & Safety Department and the DFD to provide free Safety Awareness & Fire Education (SAFE) training for Denver seniors. The SAFE program will provide low to moderate income senior citizens with the knowledge needed to prevent and/or effectively handle emergency situations in their home.
#3 Citizen Emergency Response Training
During any large-scale disaster like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm first responder resources. Citizen preparedness and volunteer organizations are critical components of a successful response and/or recovery effort. Citizens that are prepared for an emergency are less of a drain on the immediate, critical response effort and, if educated, will be able to aid responders.
The CERT program is an all-risk, all-hazard training designed to help citizens protect themselves, their family, their neighbors, and their neighborhood in an emergency. The Denver Fire Department Foundation is seeking funding to offer four Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT) courses to prepare and integrate citizens and organizations into disaster planning. These basic programs provide preparedness and response training in disasters, fire suppression, emergency operations, all-hazards safety, life saving skills, home safety emergency and basic first aid, light urban search & rescue, crime prevention and terrorism awareness, disaster psychology and team organization/volunteer management.