Santa Barbara-area firefighters were using their own money to purchase protective eye goggles during their fight with the Jesusita Fire. Rikki Emory, president of the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance (SBFA), said that as a result, the group decided at its May 12 board meeting to focus future donations and fundraising efforts on purchasing over 400 goggles and a wildfire suppression pump for city and county firefighters.
Erinn Lynch, from SBFA’s public relations committee, told the Independent that due to recent budget cuts to city and county departments, firefighting liaisons were coming to give their latest status updates from the frontlines of the fire with bloodshot eyes. “It’s critical for us to raise money for them to protect themselves while they protect us,” Lynch said. She and her group are aiming to raise around $50,000 to purchase this gear.
At the meeting, the board agreed to spend existing funds on Global Positioning System units, weather meters, and new radios, which were requested by area fire officials. They are looking to get them Advancer V-12 goggles, which have been approved by fire departments for their high-impact lenses and a patented ventilation system. The wildfire suppression pump, which alone costs about $15,000, can be mounted to existing smaller trucks to provide fire suppression abilities to firefighters in locations where full-size equipment cannot go, such as the Santa Ynez Mountains.
SBFA is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that has procured $700,000 in rescue equipment that has been vital in the battles against the Gap, Tea, and Jesusita Fires. “We are looking to the community’s support to purchase this essential gear so that our local crews are protected in advance of the next fire,” Emory was quoted as saying in a press release. Their next fund raising event will be their annual Fire Ball on June 5, and they are always accepting donations on their website.
Ryan Neal is an Independent intern.