Getting them out alive

The San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation (Foundation), in partnership with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD), has made securing funding of $582,300 for Personal Escape Systems (PES’s) for every SDFD firefighter a priority for 2015.

In 2014, all SDFD uniformed crew members were required to attend fire ground survival training. The survival training program offered an effective path to enhance firefighter safety and survival by teaching and reinforcing appropriate fire ground behaviors and actions. These actions included the instruction of the skills necessary to rapidly exit an upper floor. Firefighters were trained on the use of PES’s through the recent survival training program; however, SDFD firefighters do not currently possess National Fire Protection Association’s recommended PES’s. Unfortunately, because of the scale of this project, SDFD has not been able to provide funding for individual PES.

Personal Escape Systems from San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation on Vimeo.

IMG_4281SDFD believes that the benefits of providing a PES to every firefighter include an enhancement in firefighter safety, reduced costs associated from time lost due to injury, and leveraging prior investments in training. Costs associated with injuries and firefighter fatalities are devastating and far outweigh the expense of purchasing a PES for every SDFD firefighter. Ensuring the firefighting force is adequately trained to recognize fire ground dangers and to react accordingly if the emergency use of a PES is indicated, not only serves to protect the lives of the SDFD members, but also safeguards the community’s human resources and financial investment.

The $582,300 in funding provides a good value to the City of San Diego. If applied to the community, it equates to $0.44 per San Diego resident—a minimal investment for the ability of firefighters to self-rescue; if applied against number of firefighters that need this PPE (873), it equates to $667 per firefighter. Although the costs are high to purchase 873 PES for a department this large, the benefit to not only the City of San Diego but surrounding agencies which the City supports via mutual aid make this project a wise investment.

Please join us today by making a financial contribution to help provide Personal Escape Systems for every SDFD firefighter.


CtysealcolorSpecial thanks to the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors for their generous support of the Personal Escape System initiative.