Firefighters Join Forces To Offer A Hand Up To Victims And Families When Disaster Strikes

Thursday, December 10, 2015

SAVE Offers Immediate On-The-Spot Help to Victims of Catastrophic Loss

Coming together in a unique joint event in downtown Los Angeles, fire department leadership from Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County today announced their participation in Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) 

SAVE makes it possible for local firefighters to give on-the-spot aid to families and individuals who suffer substantial property loss in a fire or a major disaster, like an earthquake or flood. Created and funded by the California Fire Foundation – a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization – SAVE provides departments with Mastercard gift cards that can be activated at the scene, allowing disaster victims to get a hot meal, buy some clothes or maybe find a place to stay the night. 

“As firefighters, we see the devastating effects of fire and natural disaster up close,” said Lou Paulson, chair of the California Fire Foundation and a retired Contra Costa firefighter. “SAVE allows us to continue providing comfort and support even after the emergency has passed.”

The state’s two largest local fire agencies, and their respective bargaining units, are among more than 60 departments statewide that have joined the SAVE partnership. The $100 Mastercard SAVE cards are carried by incident commanders to residential fire and disaster calls. If the occupancy loss is 25 percent or more of total value, a SAVE card can be activated right at the scene.  

“When someone loses their home in a fire or disaster, it is a devastating experience,” said Ralph Terrazas, chief of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. “Through SAVE, we can offer a little immediate assistance to a family struggling to get though those first hours after a disaster.”

"Even though we are a large department, our fire stations are right there in the community – the residents we serve are our neighbors,” said Daryl Osby, chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "SAVE gives us a chance to provide some comfort and to let our neighbors know that we're there for them."

The SAVE program was initiated in 2014, and has steadily grown statewide. To date, more than 1,100 Californians touched by tragedy have been helped through the program. SAVE is funded by the California Fire Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting fallen firefighter families, firefighters and their communities. Most of the donations to the Foundation come from California firefighters themselves. 

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