Chairman’s November 2018 Update

8 Nov

Mission: To assess and respond to unmet needs of the greater Tucson firefighter community by facilitating access to health and wellness resources, while recognizing the firefighting heritage and culture.

Busy 2018 with still two months to go. The All-Volunteer Foundation continues to work on many fronts to support the firefighters throughout the region:

The Foundation’s financial status remains quite positive with all accounts paid.

Safe Shift Estate Sale Resale store on East 29th has now been open for a year and continues to be the strong fundraising arm of the foundation. The store, being all volunteer, continues to be open just three days per month. 96 cents of each dollar raised for the Foundation goes toward programming. For the most recent sale a number of local employers facilitated their employees to volunteer “on duty”. Volunteerism remains key to the Foundation’s success and helping our firefighters.

Fiesta De Los Bomberos, held in September at Starr Pass Resort was a grand success with over 500 people n attendance and a sold out golf tournament. As we await the final totals from the accountants it appears FDLB 2018 will have raised close to $50,000 for Fire Foundation Health and Wellness programming and $15,000 for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. The FDLB is also an all volunteer driven event.

Firefighter and Family Mental Health Challenge Grant: A benefactor has again offered a $20,000 donation match for firefighter and their family mental health programming. Each dollar raised will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000. Currently, about halfway to that goal. Donations may be made on line at, at Safe Shift 4911 E 29th, December 6, 7 & 8, or checks c/o GTFF, 300 S. Fire Central Place, Tucson AZ 85701.

Mental Health: For eight years the Foundation has continued to work to break down barriers to firefighters accessing mental health resources for firefighters and their families. Under guidance from the 17th Surgeon General of the United States the Foundation has built and “off campus, out of chain of command” model to provide access to mental health clinicians. The Foundation provides a listing of qualified and experienced providers ( NFPA 1582 & NFFF) and covers counseling copays for the firefighter and family. The number of firefighters utilizing this resource continues in an upward trend while over the last few months full families in crisis have been covered by the Foundation resources. In an effort to bring continued awareness of and to assist with resources and attempt to erase the stigma of asking for help and accessing resources workshops are scheduled for administrators, providers, firefighters and their families.

Navy Seal Foundation Impact Conference: As the Chair of the Fire Foundation and via a very generous donation for the effort, I was able to travel to the two day Navy Seal Impact Conference in San Diego last month. The conference presented the most highly acclaimed doctors and scientists in the country as well as the most recent evidence based finding on working with mental health of our military which included PTSD and sleep issues and family resiliency. All issues the Fire Foundation focusses on day to day. A great deal the foundation and the local fire service are in line with and some we need to work on in the future.

Cardiac: Over the past five years the Foundation has funded advanced cardiac ultrasound screens for firefighters age 50 and over as well as those firefighters requiring additional diagnostics. Aside from the common sense approach of not wanting a firefighter to be working in emergency response with a potentially detrimental cardiac situation, NFPA 1582 specifies that a firefighter must be evaluated by the appropriate clinician should they have a cardiac anomaly. Via the equipment in the Ocupational Medicine clinic and the funding provided by the Foundation, the turnaround time to get the firefighter back on the truck or seen by the appropriate provider was two days as opposed to the six weeks prior to the technology. A number of careers and potentially lives were impacted due to this resource being available. Approximately half way through 2018 the Occupational Medicine clinic underwent some operational changes which discontinued the in house screening process. The Foundation continues to be available to assist on this front where needed.

Cancer: Over the past year firefighters in the region had access to state of the art digital screening to assist in detecting potential skin cancer. The digital scan provided a mapping and flagging of the firefighter’s skin surface. Mapping was for a year over year review of the changes in the skin surface. Flagging was for potential referral to a dermatologist for further review. At least two malignant melanoma as well as other issues requiring referral to dermatologists were detected. Although firefighters continue to receive an annual screen as prescribed in NFPA 1582 the use of DermSpectra has been discontinued. The cost of continued utilization of the DermSpectra technology as well as the technology not being utilized on a day to day basis by local dermatologists were strong in discontinuing the digital screens.
The Foundation’s drawing board continues to contain initiatives to address colon cancer and breast cancer, both very prevalent in firefighters yet not fully addressed on a national level within the fire service.

Scholarships: The Foundation continues to provide sustaining scholarships for coursework at Pima Community College towards a Fire Science degree. The number of sustaining scholarships awarded has grown to seven per year. Firefighters with critical thinking as well as an analytical aptitude are thought to be potential leaders as well as safer and healthier firefighters. The intent is to grow the scholarship offering beyond the community college level.

Archive: The online archive located at, has over 110k searchable documents including photos, news articles, video clips and radio transmissions from the Tucson area fire service dating back to 1881. The Archive has been a seven year undertaking spearheaded by Mr. Al Ring. Retired Tucson Fire
Department Assistant Chief and Founding GTFF Trustee Dave Ridings provided the launch for the archive by cataloging the early collection and ensuring the collection was maintained for posterity. The Archive remains a resource for past, current and future generations.

History Book: Tucson Fire Department History book, grown from the Archive, was lunched one year ago and remains available to the public on line at and at Safe Shift Estate Sale Resale December 6, 7 & 8, 2018.

Restoration: A team of very talented and dedicated volunteers has a tremendous portfolio of restored vintage fire apparatus three of which are on display at the Tucson
Fire Department’s Fire Central, 300 S. Fire Central Place in downtown Tucson. The Fire Foundation’s 1923 American LaFrance fire engine is the latest completed project. The team is currently working on a Tucson Fire Department 1923 American LaFrance aerial ladder which was in the TFD fleet as were all the apparatus the team has restored. The 1923 aerial is set for a public presentation in January 2019 at Dillinger Days at Hotel Congress on January 19. The display of three vintage fire apparatus that were present at the historic 1934 Hotel Congress Fire that led to the capture of John Dillinger (Archive & History book)will be part of a yearlong activities Hotel Congress 100 year birthday celebration.

Firefighters Beyond Borders (FFBB): At this writing, the Foundation is preparing for the 5th firefighter exchange with Israel. The topic of the current exchange is Wildland Urban Fire. Six highly trained and credentialed firefighters from three different regional agencies will travel to Israel to present on U.S. technologies’ and strategies in dealing with Wildland Urban Interface Fires as recently seen in California. The Firefighters traveling to Israel will also garner knowledge in detecting and battling wildland fire echo terrorism. Funding for the FFBB is all private, restricted and nongovernmental. You can follow the progress of the Firefighters Beyond Borders international delegation at @ firefightersbeyondborders on Facebook

Annual meeting: November 8, 2018, 11:00, Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union, 2500 E 22md St.

Proposed 2019 Plan:
Integrative and Holistic care of Firefighters
Mental Health – Firefighters and families
• Outpatient copays
• Conference and workshops
• Sleep issues – Shift Schedule Research

Cardiac Screenings:
• Assist Firefighters and Departments with NFPA 1582 compliance as needed
Cancer screens and prevention
• Breast cancer screens
• Colon cancer

Firefighter Fitness:
• Peer Fitness Trainer Training
• Peer Fitness Trainer Credential Maintenance – CE
• Diagnostic/monitoring equipment
• PFT Equipment

Thank you for your support of our firefighters.

Safe Shift Estate Sale/Resale | 4911 East 29th Street | December 6,7,8, 2018

Safe Shift Estate Sale/Resale | 4911 East 29th Street | January 3, 4,5 2019

Dillinger Days at Hotel Congress | January 18 & 19, 2019


Mike McKendrick

Posted by: Category: Chairman's Update

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