Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Helping out the helpers

Jackson Bell

The Burbank Fire Department this week received some corporate aid to

help resuscitate a program facing financial hardship.

State Farm Insurance Company, a national company with 10 agents


and 55 associates in Burbank, donated a $25,000 grant to assist

Burbank Fire’s Community Disaster Volunteer program at Tuesday’s City

Council meeting. The program recently lost funding because of city

budget cuts.


Fire Chief Mike Davis and Community Disaster Coordinator Rich

Baenen accepted the grant from State Farm spokeswoman Ena Alcaraz and

several agents. The council later approved the donation.

“The Burbank Fire Depart- ment has a great proactive approach to

protecting its citizens, and it was something we really wanted to be

behind,” Alcaraz said.

The program -- which encompasses the Community Emergency Response

Team, Arson Watch and Emergency Amateur Radio Services-- assists


public safety personnel with disaster relief during emergencies such

as brush fires, earthquakes and train derailments, Baenen said.

"[State Farm’s] slogan is that they want to be good neighbors, and

in this case, it proved to be true,” he said. “They are good


The department’s goal is to train 100 volunteers in the coming

year at an average cost of $250 to $300 a person, which Baenen said

the grant should cover.


The program has contributed about 7,000 hours of disaster-relief

assistance this year, from the Metrolink train crash in January to

the Wildwood Canyon fire in October. Baenen said volun- teers worked

the equivalent of four full-time city employees a year, providing

roughly $200,000 worth of service.

Earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency also

donated $1,000 to the program, which used the money to buy training