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Graphic Arts Placement Memo

Graphic Arts Placement Memo

Graphic Arts Placement Memo

A component of the Cancer Awareness & Prevention Program (CAPP) involves marketing material, including both posters and stickers. The posters are intended to create an emotional connection with Firefighters, while the stickers will act as prompts to encourage safe workplace behaviors. We request that posters and stickers be installed/mounted in stations and apparatus as noted.

20”x30” metal poster (several versions featuring various Firefighters). Proposed placement: In a prominent area of each station, Headquarters, etc.

4” round CAPP logo sticker mounted on aluminum plate, screwed into cabinet/compartment containing hood exchange bag.

5”x7” “Clean Air” Near SCBA mounts. Sticker on aluminum plate screwed to bulkhead.

5”x7” “Clean Gear” sticker on washers.

5” x 7” “Clean Zone” on doors leading from apparatus floor into living quarters.

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Cancer Action Plan

Cancer Action Plan

Cancer Action Plan

Cancer Prevention Action Plan

Frequently, firefighters, the public and policy makers perceive the most dangerous aspects of firefighting as those functions associated with actions taken on the fireground, such as search and rescue, advancing hoselines, or vertical ventilation. While these functions are admittedly dangerous, a far less glamorous and insidious foe, occupational cancer, is responsible for greater morbidity and mortality in the fire service than adverse fire events, structural collapse, and fireground disorientation combined. This document serves to briefly review the magnitude and implications of occupational cancer in the fire service and provide a plan for the San Diego Fire & Rescue Department to address this pressing issue.

Occupational Cancer

Today’s byproducts of combustion are different from those in the past, as natural materials including wood, textiles and the like have been replaced with synthetic furnishings, plastics, fireproofing compounds and construction materials. These fuels produce a host of known carcinogens when burned, including: benzene, chromium, formaldehyde, polycyclic hydrocarbons and many more (Fabian et al., 2010). As a result, today’s fires are highly toxic, burn hotter and faster and pose significantly greater risk to firefighters when compared to the past. Additionally, diesel exhaust was recently reclassified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) from a Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) to a Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans) classification (International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC], 2012). Combined, these factors demonstrate the increased risk of occupational cancer firefighters face both on the fireground and in the station. According to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Line of Duty Deaths Database, 86 firefighters died of occupational cancer in 2014, (“IAFFLODD,” 2015) compared to 22 who were killed at fire scenes during the same time period (National Fire Protection Administration [NFPA], 2015). 

The association between occupational cancer and firefighting has been well documented in numerous peer-reviewed research publications, including:

  • LeMasters and colleagues, meta-analysis of 32 studies published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, identified 10 cancers that were significantly associated with firefighting and four that were designated as probable risk, these included: multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate and testicular cancers (LeMasters et al., 2006).
  • Pukkala, and colleagues, study of 16,442 Nordic firefighters over a 45 year period, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found moderate excess incidence of the following cancers: prostate, skin melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the lung, and mesothelioma (Pukkala et al., 2014).
  • Daniels and colleagues, NIOSH study of mortality and cancer incidence in a pooled cohort of 29,993 firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia between 1950-2009, found small to moderate increases in risk for several cancer sites and for all cancers combined, stemming from excess malignancies of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems as well as a causative relationship between firefighting and mesothelioma (Daniels et al., 2015).

The findings of these researchers and many more have been persuasive enough that 32 states and 9 Canadian provinces have adopted presumptive law coverage for firefighters who develop cancer (International Association of Firefighters [IAFF], n.d.). The evidence is abundant and compelling; an association between firefighting and cancer exists.

While the impacts of cancer are numerous, two areas of special interest include the emotional and financial aspects. Emotionally, the impact of cancer is both obvious and catastrophic at the individual, family and organizational levels, as those accustomed to being the “helpers” are thrust into the unfamiliar role of asking for help and family and friends are witness to potentially preventable suffering. In terms of finances, the impact of occupational cancer is equally consequential in an era of scarce resources, as workers compensation pays for presumptive occupational cancers. Cancer care is very costly, for example:

Direct Cancer Costs Related to Hospitalizations in 2009:

Diagnosis

Leukemia

Multiple Myeloma

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Bone

Brain

Prostate

Mean Hospital Cost

$40,200

$28,700

$24,900

$19,600

$19,400

$10,900

Source: (Price, Stranges, & Elixhauser, 2012)

Annual Cost of Cancer Drugs in 2012

Drug Name

Sipuleucel

Lenalidomide

Ofatumumab

Dasatinib

Use

Prostate

Multiple Myeloma

Lymphoma

Leukemia

1 Year Cost

$90,000

$90,000

$120,000

$110,000

Source: (Siddiqui & Rajkumar, 2012)

Just one incidence of occupational leukemia costs the City of San Diego in excess of $150,000 dollars in direct medical costs over the course of one year. This number does not reflect additional indirect costs including but not limited to, workers compensation litigation, backfill, and death benefits. Based on both the emotional and economic impact of occupational cancer, a reactionary approach is inappropriate. Rather, the objective should be to prevent the onset of occupational cancer in the first place.

Preventing disease prior to its onset is termed primary prevention and is the ultimate goal of any health intervention program, as it optimizes quality of life and results in a significant return-on-investment. While it is intuitive that living a life free of cancer is ideal, the notion that preventing chronic disease such as cancer is cost-effective warrants greater scrutiny. While there is little data specifically focused on the impact of primary prevention of occupational cancer in firefighters, there is a wealth of data concerning primary prevention of chronic diseases in the general population from which we can draw insight.

According to a 2009 report from the Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, primary prevention is good business, in both human and economic terms. Researchers evaluated 84 low-cost, community based studies where primary prevention was employed in the context of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer (TFAH, 2009). The results were remarkable; in California the ROI at 1-2 years was .73:1, at 5 years 4.84:1 and at 10-20 years 5.41:1 (TFAH, 2009). An obvious limitation of this data is that it was derived from large-scale, health promotion campaigns that dealt with numerous chronic diseases rather than just cancer, potentially limiting its applicability. However, based on the data, it does not seem unreasonable to extrapolate that in the context of occupational cancer, potentially significant savings would result from keeping workers healthy rather than treating them when sick. 

Based on the premise that primary prevention is both ethically and financially prudent, a course of action is warranted. Thankfully, organizations including the IAFF, Firefighters Cancer Support Network (FFCSN), and fire departments from Boston, FDNY and more have taken the lead in the cancer prevention arena. Therefore, collaboration with these organizations is essential, as completely reinventing the wheel in San Diego is unnecessary. However, even with the best program and collaboration, no program is a one-size fits-all. Crafting a customized program based on a proven foundation that fits within the cultural norms and values of the SDFD will be key to gaining organizational acceptance.

The SDFD Cancer Prevention Program (SDFD/CPP) will be a comprehensive health promotion campaign, built upon several of the widely accepted 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives (see appendix) presented at the National Fallen Firefighters Tampa 2 Firefighter Life Safety Summit.

Short-Term Objectives:

Primarily focus on behavioral change, based on Life-safety Initiatives 1,2 & 4, which in essence advocate for cultural change at all levels as it relates to health & safety, improving accountability for health and safety and the empowerment of all employees to feel secure in speaking up and stopping unsafe practices (National Fallen Firefighters Foundation [NFFF], 2014). What does this look like where the rubber meets the road?

  • Engage key stakeholders from throughout the organization through outreach and focus groups and provide education regarding occupational cancer
  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop culturally competent messaging that encourages/markets behaviors recommended by FFCSN & the IAFF that include such things as: 100% exhaust extractor use, showering after a fire, using wipes to remove soot on face/neck at the scene of a fire, washing hood and/or entire ensemble on a weekly basis, wearing SCBA throughout incident and being cognizant of apparatus exhaust flow paths and bunkers on the app floor.
  • Create a cadre of “SDFD Health Ambassadors” who in large part are comprised of informal leaders, firefighters who “have been there and done that” who communicate leaders intent by spreading the health & wellness message through one-on-one work, small-group meetings and modeling of healthful behavior. Ideally the message comes from the top and bottom, as long-lasting cultural change will come from firefighters wanting to engage in healthful behaviors, because they understand the “why” and the “how”, rather than simply having to do it because the “Chief says so”.
  • Develop and implement a curriculum to be taught at the Fire Academy and recurring training addressing occupational cancer and the actions employees can take to minimize risk.
  • Develop and implement a plan to evaluate effectiveness of interventions. Behavioral change will likely prove challenging in a culture that prides itself on 200 years of tradition unaffected by progress, however encouraging behavioral change is the crux of this program, as numerous high-impact, low-cost, behavioral targets of opportunity exist that stand to reduce risk significantly. Historically, numerous health promotion campaigns have fought similar uphill battles and succeeded, based in large part on perseverance coupled with the right message and messengers, resulting in countless lives being saved. Examples include: smoking cessation campaigns, condom use to slow the spread of HIV transmission, seatbelt use, and closer to home, the use of SCBA’s and RIC teams, both of which were unheard of just 30 years ago. 

Recent research published in the Journal of Research in Organizational Behavior is worth reading (see appendix), as its applicability to our organization’s goals in terms of health & safety is remarkable. Researchers studied the “macho” culture of offshore oil platform workers who lived and worked together for weeks at a time in a highly competitive, high-risk environment, where ego was king and getting the job done at all costs was the underlying organizational message, creating a culture where safety was an afterthought (Ely & Meyerson, 2010). In order to foster cultural change, organizational health & safety initiatives were embraced and implemented at all levels (Ely & Meyerson, 2010). Workers adopted a culture of inclusiveness and a philosophy of collective good where humility was expressed openly throughout the organization. As a result, safety was enhanced, production increased and worker satisfaction improved, a win-win for all parties involved (Ely & Meyerson, 2010). While fire stations are not oil platforms, the cultural similarities are striking, lending hope to the notion that we can and will achieve positive behavioral change.

Mid-Range Objectives:

Consistent with Life-Safety Initiatives 8 and 16, both of which put forth the imperative that departments utilize available technology to improve health & safety and when designing or purchasing new equipment, health and safety be a primary consideration (NFFF, 2014).

  • Survey all fire stations and assess environmental systems/conditions in the context of occupational cancer risk reduction, including: PPE storage areas, door seals, common area furnishings, exhaust extraction systems, PPE washing machines, etc. and make evidence-based recommendations
  • Collaborate with apparatus specification team in terms of health and safety and occupational cancer risk reduction, potential areas of concern include, such things as exhaust flow path, PPE storage compartments and more
  • Research and produce feasibility report for in-house repair and maintenance of PPE

Long-term objectives:

Consistent with Life-Safety initiative #7, research and develop in-house and/or collaborate with other agencies/organizations to create a data collection system related to heath and safety for evaluation and future, yet to be determined research (NFFF, 2014).

Implementation:

In order to implement a successful health promotion campaign, both a philosophical and financial commitment is required on the part of senior leadership. As part of the financial commitment, the creation of a full-time project manager position is essential. A project manager would solely focus on occupational cancer, a subject with breadth and depth enough to encompass an entire career. Tunnel vision, a detriment on the fireground, would in this case be an asset, as all energies are directed at this singular imperative. The project manager would report to Chief Duron, yet be free from dealing with the myriad of issues his office currently deals with, as he fills the shoes of both a Health and Safety Officer and Incident Safety Officer. 

Because the messenger is often times equal to or even more important than the message itself, selecting the ideal project manager is key. The ideal candidate should have excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills; be committed to the project for several years; be detailed oriented; have knowledge of the subject material and be culturally in-tune with the fire service. Duties may include:

  • Collaboration with organizations & agencies currently engaging in occupational cancer prevention health campaigns
  • Engaging with and developing relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Planning, implementing, and evaluating health promotion activities
  • Creating educational curriculum tailored to the SDFD
  • Creating health promotion material tailored to the SDFD
  • Conducting on-site surveys of facilities
  • Researching and reporting on evidence-based practices related to occupational cancer
  • Researching and reporting on feasibility of in-house PPE repair/maintenance

Keeping firefighters healthy rather than treating them when they develop cancer is both ethically and economically prudent. This document provides a starting point from which we can begin to implement cultural/behavioral change to reduce risk, as cultural/behavioral change is the single most important aspect of preventing occupational cancer. The fact is, we currently possess an arsenal of tools we can put to use today to reduce risk, including: showers, washers, SCBA’s, exhaust extraction systems, and handy-wipes, many of which are tools that are required by policy to be used, yet culturally fall by the wayside. The reality is, our members fail to appreciate the significance of occupational cancer, likely in large part due to the lengthy latency of the disease. A positive attribute of firefighters is their sense of invincibility, a fact that serves us well on the firegorund but may kill us in the long run, as we fail to recognize and mitigate controllable risk factors associated with cancer. 

While occupational cancer and its association with firefighting is currently receiving the attention it deserves, we need only open a history book to discover that this information is not new. The byproducts of combustion have long been known to cause cancer; it’s amazing that it has taken this long to start connecting the dots. In 1775, Sir Percival Pott, a London surgeon was credited with being the first person to describe an environmental form of cancer (Frills, 2010). Pott observed that chimney sweeps had a higher incidence of scrotal and testicular cancer when compared to men of other occupations and that the causative agent was soot (Frills, 2010). As a result, Pott established the first occupational hygiene recommendations; that chimney sweeps bathe at least once per week (Frills, 2010). Pott’s recommendation in 1775 to bathe after sweeping chimneys was timeless, as one of the current recommendations of the IAFF and FFCSN to reduce the incidence of occupational cancer, is to shower after firefighting in order to remove the soot! Apparently, history does repeat itself.

As an organization we have been successful in preparing our members to fight fire, ventilate roofs and search for trapped victims. However, we now face a new danger, occupational cancer. Occupational cancer kills significantly more firefighters than firefighting; the problem is very real and demands our full attention. By developing and implementing a health promotion campaign we will begin to address this complex issue at its core, by raising awareness and promoting behavioral change. While some fixes intended to reduce risk will require capital expenditure, the fact is, as previously stated we already posses many of the tools required to significantly reduce risk, we just need our people to use them. Lets take action together to make a truly meaningful impact in the lives of our members and their families, let’s mobilize and join the fight against occupational cancer.

References

Daniels, R., Kubale, T., Yiin, J., Dahm, M., Hales, T., Baris, D., … Pinkerton, L. (2015). Motality and cancer incidence in a pooled cohort of US firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia (1950. Journal of Ocupational and Enviromental Medicine, 71(6), 388-397. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101662

Ely, R., & Meyerson, D. (2010). An Organizational Approach to Undoing Gender: The Unlikely Case of Offshore Oil Platforms. Journal of Research in Organizational Behavior, 30(), 3- 34. Retrieved from http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=39818

Fabian, T., Borgenson, J., Kerber, S., Gandhi, P., Baxter, S., Sue Ross, C., … Dalton, J. (2010). Firefighter Exposure to Smoke Particulates. Retrieved from Underwriters Laboratories Inc: http://www.ul.com/global/documents/offerings/industries/buildingmaterials/fireservice/W EBDOCUMENTS/EMW-2007-FP-02093.pdf

Frills, R. (2010). Epidemiology 101. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2012). IARC:Diesel Engine Exhaust Carcinogenic. Retrieved from http://www.ul.com/global/documents/offerings/industries/buildingmaterials/fireservice/W EBDOCUMENTS/EMW-2007-FP-02093.pdf

International Associtaion of Firefighters. (n.d.). Presumptive Law Coverage for Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.iaff.org/hs/phi/disease/cancer.asp

LeMasters, G., Genaidy, A., Succop, P., Deddens, J., Sobeih, T., Barriera, H., … Lockey, J. (2006). Cancer risk among firefighters: a review and meta-analysis of 32 studies. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 48(11), 1189-1202. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17099456

Line of Duty Deaths Database. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.iaff.org/hs/lodd/searchResultsAdvanced.asp#contentid=588

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. (2014). Tampa 2: Carrying the Safety Message into the Future. Retrieved from http://1rxflr7bsmg1aa7h24arae91.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wpcontent/uploads/sites/2/2015/06/tampa2_final.pdf

National Fire Protection Administration. (2015). Firefighter Fatalities In The United States. Retrieved from http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/the-fireservice/fatalities-and-injuries/firefighter-fatalities-in-the-united-states

Price, R., Stranges, E., & Elixhauser, A. (2012). Cancer Hospitilizations for Adults, 2009 [Statistical Brief #125]. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92614/?report=printable

Pukkala, E., Martinsen, J., Weiderpass, E., Kjaerheim, K., Lynge, E., Tryggvadottir, L., … Demers, P. (2014). Cancer incodence among firefighters: 45 years of follow-up in five Nordic countries. Journal of Occupational and Envirmental Medicine, 71(6), 398-404. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2013-101803

Siddiqui, M., & Rajkumar, V. (2012). The High Cost of Cancer Drugs and What We Can Do About It. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(10), 935-943. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.07.007

Trust for America’s Health. (2009). Prevention for a Healthier America. Retrieved from http://healthyamericans.org/reports/prevention08/Prevention08.pdf

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Decon Bulletin

Decon Bulletin

Decon Bulletin

In recent years, a correlation has been established between the staggering numbers of active and retired firefighters diagnosed with various types of cancer and the exposure to the toxic substances contained within smoke and soot. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized “soot” as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it is recognized as one of the worst carcinogens. According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, “Cancer has become the most dangerous threat to the health and safety of America’s firefighters.”

Absorption of toxins through the skin is a primary concern, as the skin’s ability to act as a barrier is compromised when body temperature increases. Published research reveals that for every 5 degree increase in skin temperature, permeability of skin is compromised and absorption increases 400%. While exposure to toxins is inevitable in firefighting, we should strive to reduce or eliminate exposure when possible.

To that end, effective July 1, 2016, San Diego Fire-Rescue will implement a system of gross field decontamination of PPE and personnel to remove soot and particulates. Best practice will be for firefighters while still on scene, to wash down with a hose line, their turn-out coat, pants and boots, decontaminate areas of exposed skin with the use of skin wipes and replace contaminated hoods.

The Occupational Safety & Health Committee (OSHC) has undertaken a comprehensive test of available wipes on the market and have selected “Action Wipes” for use by our personnel. Action Wipes were selected because they are made from all organic ingredients and their superior performance for durability, moisture content and cleaning potential.

After a fire incident, personnel should decontaminate by briskly scrubbing their skin with Action Wipes in the most vulnerable exposure routes: the face, jawline, throat, underarms, forearms and hands as a temporary measure until they can shower and lather off remaining contaminants.

Personnel will then replace their Nomex hood with a clean hood and soiled hoods will not be worn until properly laundered. To facilitate this, all personnel are directed to carry both their hoods with them as part of their usual PPE complement.

San Diego Fire-Rescue recognizes that firefighters may experience periods of high activity where both hoods may become soiled prior to laundering. To ensure that clean hoods are available, each front line apparatus will be issued a green zippered bag with four additional hoods and 25 individually packaged Action Wipes. The green hood bag is to be kept inside the cab of the apparatus and the hood side will be sealed with a break-away zip-tie. If hoods from the green bag are used, personnel will launder their two personally issued hoods and the hoods from the green bag will be returned to their respective battalion chief, who will deliver to the Logistics Division for professional cleaning and restocking. 

All personally issued hoods will be laundered at fire stations. Each fire station will be issued a laminated sheet with instructions and a green 3-gallon plastic bucket for the sole purpose of laundering hoods. A mix of 3 ounces of CitroSqueez cleaner in 2.5 gallons of cold water will be used to soak soiled hoods for at least one hour. After soaking, the bucket will be emptied into a deep sink and the bucket and hoods will be rinsed with fresh cold water. The hood(s) will then be placed into the station washing machine with an additional 3 ounces of CitroSqueez in normal-cold cycle. Once washed, the hoods will be air-dried and placed back into service.

Action Wipes can be resupplied from Store 42 or any SDFD Battalion Chief apparatus. Questions related to the use of Action Wipes or the Nomex hood replacement can be directed to Battalion Chief Alfredo Duron at aduron@sandiego.gov.

This direction will be incorporated into the Operations Manual with a future update.

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SCBA Use Recommendation Memo

SCBA Use Recommendation Memo

SCBA Use Recommendation Memo

Issue:

SCBA removal based on CO levels during overhaul is an unsafe practice. CO levels do not correlate with levels of other airborne toxic/carcinogenic chemicals routinely encountered during the overhaul phase of Firefighting operations.

Background:
Wearing SCBA’s throughout the entire overhaul process is not the norm in the Department. Currently, Firefighters are permitted to remove their SCBA’s during overhaul when CO levels are less than 25ppm. According to the Department Drill Manual, chapter 23 “The level of CO will determine whether or not the fire area can be entered without SCBA” Department, this practice is fundamentally flawed.

Discussion:
In 2000, the Phoenix Fire Department (PFD) studied airborne toxic/carcinogenic chemicals during the overhaul phase at 25 structure fires (Bolstad-Johnson, et. al., 2000). Chemicals measured included: aldehydes, benzene, toluene, xylene, hydrochloric acid, poly-nuclear nuclear hydrocarbons, respirable dust and hydrogen cyanide (Bolstad-Johnson, et. al., 2000). The results showed that there is no correlation between CO levels and other toxic/carcinogenic airborne chemicals (Bolstad-Johnson, et. al., 2000). Based on this finding, it was recommended that Firefighters wear SCBA’s throughout overhaul (Bolstad-Jonson, et. al., 2000). PFD Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for SCBA use states, SCBA’s shall be worn “…where invisible contaminants are suspected to be present” (Phoenix Fire Department [PFD], 1997). According to PFD Deputy Fire Chief Brian Tobin, PFD Firefighters wear SCBA’s “on-air” throughout overhaul, no exceptions. PFD does not routinely monitor air quality at structure fires because the environment is assumed to be contaminated.

Chief Tobin also addressed the issue of decreased work capacity and increased fatigue as a result of 100% SCBA use. This concern is remedied by frequently rotating crews throughout various functions to distribute the workload and by providing frequent breaks for hydration and “cooling off”. During the hottest part of the year, PFD assigns an additional company to each alarm. 

In 2011, the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Department, a 22 station department located south of Portland conducted a similar study. Dual function Firefighter/Hazmat Technicians responded to 38 structure fires over the course of 8 months (Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Department [TVFRD], 2011). Results were similar to that of the PFD research, no correlation between CO and other toxic/carcinogenic airborne chemicals existed (TVFRD, 2011).

Additionally, neither cartridge respirators (APR) nor N-95 masks provide meaningful respiratory protection during overhaul. In 2000, 26 Phoenix Firefighters wearing APR’s during overhaul were compared to 25 Tucson Firefighters not wearing respiratory protection during overhaul (Burgess, et. al., 2001). The results showed decreased pulmonary function and increased lung permeability in both groups, meaning APR’s did not provide adequate protection (Burgess, et. al., 2001). A primary limiting factor of APR’s is the fact that the contaminants must be known in order to ensure the right filter is used, a near impossibility at structure fires.

N-95’s provides almost no protection during overhaul. N-95 masks are designed to filter 95% of particles 0.3 microns and larger (US Food & Drug Administration [FDA], 2015). The dilemma is that many of the toxins encountered during overhaul are far smaller, ex: tobacco smoke which contains numerous known carcinogens can be as small as .01 microns and gas molecules can be as small as .0001 microns (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences [NIEHS], 2006).

Lastly, when considering 100% SCBA use during overhaul the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) should be considered. APF is a term used to rate the degree of respiratory protection provided by a particular device (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2009). Essentially, the APF reflects how much safer the air you are breathing inside your respiratory protection is compared to the air outside, a safety factor of sorts.

Recommendations:
Require 100% “on-air” SCBA use for all Firefighters throughout the overhaul phase at all fires, excluding wildland fires.

Wearing an SCBA throughout overhaul will decrease the work capacity of Firefighters and increase fatigue. In order to prevent heat related illness and injury, Captains shall ensure crews are frequently rotated to cool-off and hydrate. Additionally, when possible, crews should be rotated amongst work assignments to evenly distribute workload and cumulative exposure to toxins.

100% SCBA use throughout overhaul will result in greater demand being placed on Light & Air units. Because Firefighters will be spending more time “on-air,” it stands to reason that Light & Air will be requested more frequently.

The following are APF’s for various forms of respiratory protection:

Air Purifying Respirator (APR) = APF 10

Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) = APF 25

SCBA= APF 10,000

Source: OSHA, 2009.

Atlernatives:

Quantities of various graphics could be reduced and/or reconfigured to meet budgetary constraints.

References

Bolstad-Johnson D., Burgess, J., Crutchfield, C., Storment, S., Gerkin, R., Wilson, J. (2000). Characterization of Firefighter Exposures During Fire Overhaul. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11071414

Bolstad-Johnson (2013) Firefighting A Toxic Profession. The synergist/American Industrial Hygienist Association. Retrieved from: https://www.aiha.org/publications-andresources/TheSynergist/Documents/October%202013%20Synergist-FirefightingA%20Toxic%20Profession.pdf

Burgess, J., Nanson, C., Bolstad-Johnson, D., Gerkin, R., Hysong, T., Lantz, R., Sherrill, D., Crutchfield, C., Quan, S., Bernard, A., Witten, M (2001) Adverse respiratory effects following overhaul in Firefighters. 43 (5):467-473. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

US Food and Drug Administration (2015) Masks and N95 Respirators. Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/GeneralHospitalDevicesandSupplie s/ucm055977.htm#s1

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2006) Particle Size Makes All the Difference. Retired from: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_a_e/ehp_student_edition_lesson_particles_size_makes_all _the_difference.pdf

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2009). Assigned Protection Factor. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3352-APF-respirators.html

Oregon Safety & Health Section (2012) Operational Guides and Best Practices Respiratory & Dermal Protection During Fire Attack, Overhaul, And Investigation. State of Oregon. Retrieved from: http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/docs/OFCArespiratoryBestPractices.pdf

Phoenix FD (1997). Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Standard Operating Procedure. Retrieved from: https://www.phoenix.gov/firesite/Documents/074718.pdf

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Graphics Arts Memo

Graphics Arts Memo

Graphics Arts Memo

Issue:

The following is an overview of the Cancer Awareness & Prevention Program (CAPP) marketing plan and funding request for promotional materials.

Background:
CAPP is a health promotion campaign that utilizes traditional marketing theories and principles to sell behavioral change. The foundation of the marketing plan is based upon the “four P’s”, which represent widely accepted marketing principles used in business (CDC, 2011). The “four P’s include: product, price, place, and promotion (CDC, 2011).

Discussion:
In 2013, researchers utilizing functional brain imaging (fMRI) confirmed what we have intuitively known for years, emotions drive our decision making to a far greater degree than do rational facts and figures (Murray, 2013). Therefore, to effectively market the CAPP brand and sell the benefits of behavioral change, we need to emotionally connect with Firefighters.

Crafting a program targeting emotional connection with Firefighters represents a significant departure from historical cultural norms. Traditional Fire Department training speaks to the rational mind, ex: tie this knot, soften the structure like this, etc. However, when it comes to long-term sustained behavioral change, the notion that people will choose the right brand/product based simply on an abundance of facts and figures is flawed. This “fallacy of rationality” (McKee, 2007) is evident in the 30-year smoker that knows smoking is killing them, yet cannot quit, despite repeated attempts. However, when their coworker suffers and dies of lung cancer an emotional connection is forged, resulting in newfound willpower that drives the smoker to quit overnight, cold turkey. Creating a powerful emotional connection with Firefighters will ideally provide them with the willpower required to quit unsafe workplace behaviors (cold turkey), even when surrounded by “salty” smoke-eater peers.

The value of creating an emotional connection powerful enough to drive behavioral change can be explained by the Health Belief Model (HBM), the most widely used theory in health education and promotion (Hayden, 2014). The underlying concept of the HBM is that health behavior is determined by personal beliefs or perceptions, or more succinctly, cost vs. benefit as it relates to engaging in safer workplace and/or health behaviors. The chief constructs of the HBM include: perceived susceptibility, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, perceived seriousness, cues to action, and self-efficacy (Hayden, 2014).

Recommendations:
Implement a marketing plan based upon the “4 P’s”, incorporating constructs of the HBM in order to sell the CAPP brand to Firefighters.

“4 P’s”

  • Product: CAPP brand, safe workplace behaviors
  • Price/Cost: those who engage in safe behaviors may endure ridicule by peers and be considered not “tough” or “salty”
  • Place: distribute materials utilizing various communication mediums throughout stations, wellness, training, etc.
  • Promotion:
    • PowerPoint curriculum delivered via company level training format.
    • Emotional Impact Video
      • SDFRA $15,000/Paid
    • Graphic arts design fee for logo, posters, etc.
      • SDFRA $7,790/Paid
    • Best practices/hood exchange “cheat sheet” 8 ½” x 11” laminated card
      • $1.00 x 150 = $150.00
    • “Cues to action” 5” x 7” stickers
      • Clean Zone stickers placed on doors leading to/from apparatus floor & station: $4.55 each/5 per station
        • $4.55 x 5 x 80 [new station and spares] = $1,820.00
      • Clean Air stickers near SCBA brackets in apparatus/2 per rig
        • $4.55 x 2 x 75 = $682.50
      • Clean Gear stickers on washing machines/ 1 per station and Training
        • $4.55 x 60 = $273.00
    • 2” Logo stickers/social contracts for Helmets: $2.90 each
      • 1500 x $2.90 = $4,350.00
    • 4” Logo stickers
      • On “hood exchange” cabinets in cab $3.10 each/ 1 per rig
        • $3.10 x 100 = $310.00
    • CAPP logo turnout patch by Lion PPE
      • TBD/conservative estimate $15.00 for patch and labor
      • Mounting of “Clean Air” & 4” logo stickers on apparatus: $45.00/per apparatus (quote from Mike Reid)
        • $45.00 x 80 = $3,600.00
    • Metal Posters featuring SDFD cancer survivors $70.00 each
      • 2/double house, including Rescue & airport (14 x 2 x $70.00 = $1,960.00) §
      • 1/single house (34 x $70.00 = $2,380.00) §
      • 2/Wellness (2 x $70.00 = $140.00) §
      • 2/HQ (2 x $70.00 = $140.00) §
      • 8/Training (8 x $70.00 = $560.00) §
      • 2/L 145 (2 x $70.00 = $140.00) §
      • 2/SDFRA (2 x $70.00 = $140.00) §
      • 1/Air Ops (1 x $70.00 = $70.00) §
      • 10/Future stations (10 x $70.00 = $700.00)

_____________________________________________________________________

      • Total 89 metal posters x $70.00 = $6,230.00
    • Total graphic arts: $40,205.50

Each of the aforementioned “4 P’s” incorporates constructs of the Health Belief Model:

    • Emotional impact video and posters create a sense of vulnerability and seriousness in regards to occupational cancer
    • 2” logo sticker for helmets is evidence of member “buy in”
    • 4” logo sticker in the apparatus cab on hood exchange cabinets is a “cue to action” to change hood after Firefighting
    • CAPP logo turnout patch, “cue to action”
    • 5” x 7” cues to action remind Firefighters to wear their SCBA “Clean Air”, wash their gear “Clean Gear”, and not go in the station while wearing PPE “Clean Zone” 
    • PowerPoint curriculum will increase self-efficacy on the part of Firefighters and awareness of benefits of behavior change

Atlernatives:

Quantities of various graphics could be reduced and/or reconfigured to meet budgetary constraints.

References

CDC (2011) Health Marketing Basics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/Basics.html

Hayden, J. (2014) Introduction to Health Behavior. New York. Jones & Bartlett.

McKee, S. (2007) Brands: The Power of Emotion. Retrieved from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2007-11-08/brands-the-power-of-emotionbusinessweekbusiness-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

Murray, P. (2013) How Emotions Influence What We Buy. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-consumer-mind/201302/how-emotions-influencewhat-we-buy

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Front-Loading Wash Machine Memo

Front-Loading Wash Machine Memo

Front-Loading Washing Machine Memo

Issue:

Top-loading washing machines with agitators are not reflective of industry best practices for cleaning PPE nor are they recommended by Lion manufacturing.

Background:
For many years Fire Stations, have been outfitted with top-loading washing machines. While top-loading machines are NFPA 1851 compliant, they are not recommended by PPE manufacturers. According to Lion Manufacturing, top-loading machines with agitators are not recommended for PPE washing because they “…will not wash your garments as thoroughly, and the agitator may damage the garment and reduce its durability and protective value” (Lion Manufacturing [LM], 2011). Additionally, our toploading machines cannot be programmed for multiple rinse cycles. Citrosqueeze, the manufacturer of our PPE cleaning solution recommends “… three separate rinse cycles (5min/each) in cold water” when washing PPE (Citrosqueeze [CS], n.d.).

Discussion:
NFPA 1851 covers the Standard Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Firefighting and Proximity Firefighting. There are three types of turnout cleaning as defined by NFPA 1851, basic, advanced, and specialized (National Fire Protection Association [NFPA], 2014). Basic cleaning is employed for simple spot cleaning and is done in a utility sink with a soft brush and soap (NFPA, 2014). For PPE contaminated beyond a simple spot, the process of advanced cleaning is required (NFPA, 2014). Advanced cleaning is done in a washing machine, with liners and shells separated and washed separately (NFPA, 2014). Specialized cleaning is done by a professional contractor when PPE is exposed to unusual contaminants and is beyond the scope of this discussion.

In regards to cleaning PPE, NFPA 1851 directs organizations to “…examine the manufacturer’s label and user information for instructions on cleaning and drying that the manufacturer provided with the element. In the absence of manufacturer’s instructions or manufacturer’s approval of alternative procedures for the ensemble or ensemble element, the advanced cleaning and drying procedures provided in [NFPA 1851] shall be used” (NFPA, 2014). Lion Manufacturing provides extensive care and maintenance instructions with their PPE. When washing PPE, Lion recommends using a “…front-loading extractor or front-loading washing machine with a tumbling action for washing” (LM, 2011).

Historically, many Firefighters, thought (incorrectly) that extractors provided the best cleaning, because they “extracted” contaminants. However, the term extractor is misleading. Therefore, a brief overview of washing machine history and technology is warranted.

Spinning wet laundry to remove water using centrifugal force became possible with the advent of high speed electric motors (Ndola, n.d.). This process was originally done in a machine called an extractor, as the water was “extracted” while spinning (Ndola, n.d.). As technology evolved, the processes were combined and the modern washing machine as we know it today came to be (Ndola, n.d.). Because modern washing machines accomplish both washing and extraction (spinning) they were once referred to as washer/extractors (Ndola, n.d.). However, over time the term extractor was dropped and now washer/extractors are simply referred to as “washers” (Ndola, n.d.).

In the lodging, prison and hospital industries the term washer/extractor has remained, largely for marketing purposes. By extracting water at very high speeds nearly all the moisture is removed, greatly reducing drying times resulting in lower utility costs and faster turnaround times (Wash, 2011). The irony is that high-speed extraction (spinning) of PPE is prohibited by both NFPA 1851 and Lion Manufacturing (NFPA, 2014) (LM,2011). NFPA 1851 and Lion Manufacturing explicitly state that PPE should not be subjected to high extraction (spin) speeds due to the potential for damage to garments (max. allowable is 100G’s) (NFPA, 2014) (LM, 2011). It is the washing and rinsing with an appropriate cleaning solution that cleans PPE, not “extraction”.

In addition to extract/spin speed guidelines, Lion Manufacturing and NFPA 1851 recommend that washer water temperatures not exceed 105 degrees (NFPA, 2014)(LM, 2011) and Lion Manufacturing and Citrosqueeze PPE cleaning solution recommend that PPE be run through multiple rinse cycles during the washing process. Therefore, what is required is a front-loading washing machine that can be programmed for multiple rinse cycles, a spin speed of less than 100G’s, and a water temp less than 105 degrees in order to adequately clean turnout gear in accordance with Lion Manufacturing, NFPA 1851 and Citrosqueeze PPE cleaning solution.

It is important to note that currently there is no published literature that quantifies the degree to which front-load washers vs front-load washer/extractors vs top-loaders clean PPE. However, front-load washers and/or front-load washer/extractors are considered by industry to be the standard in PPE care, as evidenced by manufacturer recommendations.

Lastly, many Firefighters have expressed concern over the potential for cross contamination as a result of washing Class B uniforms, linens etc. in the same machine that PPE is washed in. There is currently no evidence to support this concern and NFPA 1851 allows for this practice, so long as an empty load with detergent is run after cleaning PPE (NFPA, 2014). However, industry and others including the Interagency Board, a voluntary working group of more than 150 emergency preparedness and response professionals recommend that “Protective clothing should be washed in machines specifically designated for this type of use in accordance with procedures meeting the manufacturer’s specifications” (Interagency Board [IAB], 2016). 

Recommendations:
Large commercial washer/extractors like the kind used by professional PPE cleaning companies, CalFire, and major hotel chains are heavy-duty and last as long as 15-20 years with proper maintenance, however their cost is significant. A Unimac washer/extractor, considered to be the “gold standard”, costs $12,972.00 per unit and requires 220v with a 3” drain line (Unimac, 02/16). Other brands including Continental are less expensive, with prices in $8,000-12,000 range plus required infrastructure improvements.

Without a doubt, large capacity washer/extractors like those used by turnout repair facilities, hotels and others do an excellent job of cleaning PPE. However, as previously stated there is currently no data quantifying the degree to which the various types of washers clean PPE. Therefore, in the absence of compelling data, a compromise is recommended, as equipping Fire Stations with $15,000 washers cannot be justified.

The proposed compromise would be to purchase heavy-duty, commercial, programmable front-loading washing machines. The proposed commercial front-load machine must be programmable and allow for multiple rinse cycles, temperature adjustments and spin speed control. Programmable front-loading washers meet the 2014 NFPA 1851 Guidelines for advanced turnout cleaning, Lion manufacturing cleaning recommendations and Citrosqueeze PPE cleaning solution recommendations

Speed Queen sells a stainless steel commercial front-loader for $1665.00 plus $134 sales tax per unit, requires no infrastructure improvement and has the same footprint as existing top-loaders (SpeedQueen, 2016). While Speed Queen readily admits the life of a commercial front-loader (3-5 years) is less than a heavy-duty washer extractor (15-20 years), the fact is we could buy 10 commercial front-loaders for the cost of one heavy-duty washer/extractor.

Speed Queen Commercial Washer

  • Model SFNNCASP113TN01
  • Deployment: 1 per station
  • Cost per unit: $1665 + $134 tax x 50 = $89,950.00
  • Warranty: 5 years parts/90 day labor
  • Lifespan: 5-7 years per vendor
  • Infrastructure improvement: none
  • Capacity: 21.5 lb. capacity (one set of liners or one set of shells weighs approx. 7lbs)

Because the theoretical concern over cross-contamination is pervasive amongst Firefighters, it is recommended that when possible, top-load washers should remain in stations and be dedicated for non-PPE cleaning. Additionally, current SDFD PPE washing guidelines require an empty load with bleach be run after washing PPE. It is recommended that SDFD procedures be changed to reflect NFPA 1851 guidelines (empty load with detergent) and/or recommend both detergent and bleach be used when running an empty load after washing PPE.

Atlernatives:

Purchase more robust front-loading commercial washing machines like those used by professional turnout cleaning contractors, CalFire, and major hotel chains.

  • Brand: Unimac 
  • Model: M30 01UW-065K2L 
  • Deployment: TBD 
  • Cost per unit: 12,972.00 
  • Infrastructure improvement: requires 220V single phase and 3” drain
  • Capacity: 65lb capacity
  • Warranty: 5 years/parts
  • Lifespan: 15 years per vendor

If resources were unlimited, purchasing the “gold standard” would be ideal. However, in the absence of compelling data to support such an expenditure, a compromise is prudent. The Speed Queen front-load programmable commercial washer is compliant with Lion Manufacturing PPE washing guidelines, NFPA 1851 (2014), Citrosqueeze PPE cleaning solution guidelines and requires no infrastructure improvements. Based on these factors, the Speed Queen option is recommended.

References

Lion (2011) NFPA Compliant Structural Firefighting Garment, User Instruction, Safety, and Training Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.lionprotects.com/sites/www.lionprotects.com/files/FI6157- 054%20Structural%20Turnout%20User%20Guide.pdf

Citrosqueeze (n.d.) Laundering PPE with Citrosqueeze. Retrieved from: https://solutionssafety.com

Interagency Board (2016) Recommended Actions Related to Reducing the Known Risk of Cancer in Firefighters. Retrieved from: http://www.interagencyboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/Recommended%20Actions%20Related %20to%20Reducing%20the%20Known%20Risk%20of%20Cancer%20in%20FFs_0.pdf

NFPA (2014) NFPA 1851 Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Firefighting and Proximity Firefighting.

Ndola, F. (n.d.) Washing Machine. Retrieved from: http://www.frankshospitalworkshop.com/equipment/documents/various_equipment/wikipedia/Washing %20machine.pdf

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Sticker Helmet Memo

Sticker Helmet Memo

Sticker Helmet Memo

As part of the Cancer Awareness & Prevention Program we have a developed a CAPP logo (see below). The logo incorporates the targeted behavioral changes, including: Clean Air, Clean Body & Clean Gear.

The delivery method for the CAPP curriculum will be through Company Level Training, in the same way the Fire Strong curriculum was delivered. At the conclusion of each presentation participants will be asked to “buy-in” and commit to the program. For those that agree, they will be issued one 2” round CAPP sticker.

We request that Firefighters be permitted to put the CAPP logo sticker on the back of their structure helmets. The rationale behind the CAPP logo sticker on Firefighter helmets is similar to that of the “I Voted” stickers handed out at the polls on election-day. Both the CAPP logo sticker and the “I Voted” stickers are social contracts that announce to others that the wearer is doing their part, be it by voting or in the case of the CAPP program by engaging in safe workplace practices.

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Cadet Scholarship Fund

Cadet Scholarship Fund

Funding the Future

The FirefighterAid Cadet Scholarship Fund (CSF) was created to provide financial aid for Fire Cadets who are making an impact in their community. This scholarship is a one-time award that benefits multiple Cadets. Cadets who have previously received an CSF may apply a second time, but may receive the award no more than two times.



Awarded amounts are determined every year based on number of applicants and at the discretion of FirefighterAid’s Board of Directors. The CSF is funded entirely by FirefighterAid and its donors. Donors can receive a tax benefit for making contributions to this fund. For information or questions please email Gabby Rockwell grockwell@sdfra.org.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners!

Hear from our Fire Scholar Recipients

Ryan Latney - Firefighter & 2019 Fire Scholar Recipient

My name is Ryan Latney and I was a cadet for about 3 years before I got hired with San Diego fire rescue. I grew up in San Diego and took classes at both Miramar and Mesa college. Balancing school, working as a seasonal firefighter for the United States Forest Service and being a battalion chief for the cadets was not an easy task, especially affording all of the costs that comes with it: classes, gas, food, textbooks and more.

While I was in the process of getting hired with San Diego City, I was awarded the FirefighterAid Cadet Scholarship which helped me tremendously. I was able to pay everything I owed to schools as well as contribute some of the money to a new laptop to help me with my studies. The people working for FirefighterAid were nothing but kind and generous and allowed me to fulfill my lifelong dream of working as a firefighter for the city of San Diego.

This job means the world to me and being able to help people in need alongside my brothers and sisters is everything I’ve ever wanted and more. I can’t wait to see what else this job has to offer for me.

Tristan De Guzman - Firefighter & 2016 Fire Scholar Recipient

My name is Tristan de Guzman. I have the privilege of being able to say that I am a new Firefighter for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. I am embracing this new opportunity that allows me to serve the city that I know and love. Being a Firefighter brings a variety of challenges and ways to serve the communities and citizens of San Diego. It is a calling that allows me to be a light in someone’s darkest day. I love how this job allows me to be someone that others look to when they need help. 



The FirefighterAid Fire Scholars scholarships were a huge blessing to my success. Before the academy, I was a student at Point Loma Nazarene University studying Kinesiology. I was also a Cadet with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. In addition, I was working part-time hours as an EMT on an ambulance. To say the least, I had my hands full. The scholarship helped me tremendously for my schooling and allowed me to focus solely on being a Firefighter. It was humbling to be a recipient of this scholarship and to have this organization supporting me every step of the way. I am grateful to have so many supporters and now I get to say I am living my dream everyday. I am extremely thankful to the FirefighterAid program’s assistance because they were a big contributor to making my dream a reality.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So, keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

Shane Sakoda - Firefighter & 2016 Fire Scholar Recipient

My name is Shayne Sakoda; I am a new Firefighter for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. I believe that being a Firefighter means you should give back to those who are in need. I chose to be a Firefighter because I have a passion for helping my community and those who are in need.

Before getting hired, I put in many hours and a lot of effort into becoming a Firefighter, especially as a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Cadet. The FirefighterAid Fire Scholars scholarship I received helped me tremendously. I probably wouldn’t be a Firefighter yet if it weren’t for the generosity of that scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to take off work as much as I did, afford to pay for school, and put in my time as a Cadet doing ride-alongs, and volunteering within the community. Many people helped me along the way to get to where I am now including friends, family, and mentors. FirefighterAid made a huge difference in my life and I greatly appreciate them!

“To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is success.” – Henry Ford

Congratulations to all our past recipients!

2015
Spencer Anthes, Jack Doxtader, Dustin Gregg, Ethan Hazlett, Joe Martino, Nick Schell
2015
Noah Costa, Aaron Gutierrez, Nick La Rocca, John Marlow,
Will Molenkamp, Jordan Poindexter
2015
Miguel Acosta, Miguel Cervantes, Aaron Gutierrez, Benny Hernandez, Ryan Latney, Daniel Wilson
2015
Chase Brown, Miguel Cervantes, Savien Gill, Ryan Pablo, Joseph Schottmiller, Alex Volk
2015
Branden Sade, Chloe Cole, Daniel Warren, Erika Nilsson, Tyler Beatty, Xavier Bartig
2015
Tristan De Guzman, Jared Creamer, Daniel Warren, Shayne Skoda, Hanna Wells, Luke Snyder
2015
Tristan De Guzman, Blaise VandenBrulle, Carlee Carter, Lauren Vanderwalle, Megan Kinnaman

Interested in applying for or donating to the Cadet Scholarship Fund?

We are proud to be able to fund our future heroes with your generosity and interest. Reach out to us today to see how you can get involved.

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Fire Family Services

Fire Family Services

What is Fire Family Services?

Fire Family Services is a behavioral health and counseling unit that focuses specifically on Firefighters and fire families. Our comprehensive and population-specific support services puts SDFRA-FFS on the forefront of providing competent and appropriate counseling and educational services to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.



This program prides itself on being able to do the right job at the right time. Specifically, we shape our support services to meet the emerging needs of our firefighters and their families. With great reverence to the community we serve, we have developed specialized counseling support within a context that is culturally sensitive, as well as culturally relevant.

Fire Family Services is a subsidiary corporation of the San Diego Fire Relief Association, incorporated in the Sate of California, and conforms to IRS regulations regarding 501(c)4 corporations.

Mental Health Resources:

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Relief Crew

Relief Crew

Join the Relief Crew

Tragically, several of our SDFD friends are currently battling cancer. As expected, many brothers and sisters have stepped up to volunteer their time to help them. FirefighterAid, the nonprofit side of the San Diego Fireman’s Relief Association, oversees the backend of this process by creating schedules, assessing needs, and essentially making it easier for volunteers to provide help. 



Many people routinely contact FirefighterAid tell us they want to volunteer or to help. So we’ve decided to create a database of do gooders who are interested in stepping up to help our own when needs arise.



Examples of needs include: driving Firefighters to appointments, mowing lawns, cleaning up yards, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and more. Once signed up, you’ll receive periodic emails detailing volunteer opportunities. Please don’t let the fact that you live remote from San Diego be a barrier to signing up…others may live in the same area and might someday need your help! Join us and be one of the good guys!

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