City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 110614
Firefighters Offer a Hand Up When Disaster Strikes
SAVE Program Offers Immediate Aid to Victims of Catastrophic Loss
Rich Brandt, Deputy Chief, Long Beach Fire Department

Carroll Wills, California Fire Foundation

As first responders, firefighters are called upon to provide comfort for families on the worst day of their lives. Now, firefighters from Long Beach and several other Southern California communities will be able to immediately help fire and disaster victims take the first small step to healing.

Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) lets firefighters provide on-the-spot aid to families and individuals who suffer substantial property loss in a fire, earthquake or other disaster. The program was launched in Long Beach on Wednesday. Created and funded by the non-profit California Fire Foundation, SAVE provides fire departments with Mastercard value cards that can be activated at the scene so victims and their families can get a hot meal, buy some clothes or maybe find a place to stay the night. 

"The SAVE program is a great way to support our residents when they are most vulnerable," Mayor Robert Garcia said. “I'm proud of the work our Fire Department is doing to help families in their time of need.”

“When someone loses their home in a fire or disaster, they often don’t know where to turn,” said Mike DuRee, Long Beach Fire Chief. “As first responders, we’re in a unique position to offer a little extra 'arm around the shoulder’ to help victims get through a very tough time.”

Long Beach Fire Department, Anaheim Fire & Rescue and Monrovia Fire are among 30 fire departments statewide that have joined the SAVE partnership. Battalion chiefs carry the $100 Mastercard SAVE cards on residential fire and disaster calls, and if occupancy loss from a fire or emergency is 25 percent or more of total value, a SAVE card can be activated right at the scene.

“We’ve all been in those situations where a family is standing outside while the life they knew goes up in flames before their eyes,” said Brad Dover, President of Monrovia Firefighters, Local 2415. “We can’t restore all they’ve loss, but a SAVE card can help them through those first difficult 24 hours, and maybe help them feel a little less lost and alone.”

SAVE is largely funded by donations to the California Fire Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting fallen firefighter families and their communities. Most of the donations to the Foundation come from California firefighters themselves. Additional support comes from a grant from Chevron. No taxpayer dollars are spent.

“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. “By offering SAVE cards to those who have lost so much, firefighters are able to continue providing comfort and support after the fire is out.”

The California Fire Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to providing comfort and support to fallen firefighter families and the communities they protect. The Foundation continues to raise funds and seek additional sponsorships to bring SAVE cards to more communities and, eventually, increase the face value of the cards.

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