LONG BEACH, CA. - On Friday, June 19, 2015, the Long Beach Fire Department received a $10,536 donation to further develop and enhance their existing Urban Search and Rescue Canine program. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and their insurance program, Veterinary Insurance Services Company (VISC), have partnered with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to award the Long Beach Fire Department with this donation. Benefitting urban search and rescue programs throughout the area, the executives from CVMA, VISC and Fireman’s Fund formally presented the donation to the Long Beach Fire Department at the annual Pacific Veterinary Conference taking place in Long Beach, CA. from June 18 through June 21, 2015.
“Canine search teams are a scarce resource, and in the event of a natural disaster they will be in high demand,” said Wade Haller, Firefighter/Paramedic and Canine Search Specialist with the Long Beach Fire Department. “The addition of canine search teams to our Urban Search and Rescue Regional Task Force will allow us to rescue disaster victims in the region, state and the nation.”
No technology can match a dog’s natural ability combined with a firefighter’s skill in finding people trapped in the aftermath of a disaster. These funds will be used for canine training and to purchase equipment and props that simulate real-life rescues.
Funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, this grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program. Founded in 1863 with a social mission to support the fire service, Fireman’s Fund has awarded grants to fire service organizations for life-saving equipment, firefighter training and community education programs. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has awarded grants to more than 2,100 different organizations totaling more than $31 million -- including more than $9 million in California. Independent insurance agencies and brokers that sell Fireman’s Fund products, like VISC, are able to direct these grants to support the fire service.
“We are pleased that the success of the CVMA insurance program is reflected in this grant,” said Mark Maeyama, executive vice-president of Veterinary Insurance Services Company. “Canine search and rescue teams save lives. We are honored to be able to support them, and the communities they serve, in such a meaningful way.”
To date, VISC has directed more than $109,000 in grants to California fire departments through this grant program – most of which have search and rescue or arson dog programs.