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
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