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“Summer Is Still Not Over For Our Firefighters.”

A Letter From The Executive Director, August 2017

Reflecting back on this summer, I’m realizing that it’s gone by incredibly fast. Vacations have ended and school is already starting up again. Here at the Firefighters Burn Institute, we hosted the Firefighter’s “A Tropical Affair” event, had the Firefighters Kids Camp at Camp Arroyo and participated in multiple fundraisers where local businesses, such as Brasserie Capitale and Sactown Union Brewery, came together to support our cause.

But despite the normal signs of the season coming to an end, I’m reminded each time I step outside into the heat that it’s far from over.

Consider this: there are over a dozen active fires in California right now that continue to burn in part because it is summer. Nearly 40 firefighters from our neighborhood firehouses are assisting local, state and federal firefighters in the battle to extinguish these fires. They are on hose lines as part of “strike teams.” They are bringing skills to management teams holding positions likes Deputy Incident Commander, Fireline paramedic, Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Resource and Facility Unit Leader and Task Force Leader. All of these are highly skilled positions that can be dangerous ones as well.

Your FFBI’s Response Team, staffed by firefighters volunteering their time, is put in place to assist the firefighters, their families, their department, union, association and medical staff when the dangerous nature of their job becomes an unfortunate event of a burn injury. The team has been at the FFBI Regional Burn Center at UC Davis seven times this year for our burn-injured firefighters. Four of the seven were battling the massive fires you have seen on the news, some have been in the burn unit for weeks, and all want to get back to protecting us. Summer is still not over for our firefighters.

All these firefighters are cut from the same cloth as their predecessors, the same firefighters that founded the FFBI. Every time I walk into my office located inside an antique firehouse, I am reminded of the fact that the FFBI – and ultimately the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center at UCDMC – would not exist if it were not for the hard work and dedication of the firefighters and those who support them.

Nearly 45 years ago, after a horrific plane crash at Farrell’s Ice Cream, firefighters created the FFBI to ensure that our community, northern California and beyond, would be served by the best burn care on the planet. They rose to the challenge exactly like our local firefighters are doing today, to ensure we are safe and protected. Virtues that our FFBI volunteers from all walks of life have embraced as well. We all carry on the mission of our founder Cliff Haskell and the firefighters of years past.

Our firefighters are out there protecting us day and night. Summer will not be over for all us…

Michael Daw
Michael Daw
Executive Director, Firefighters Burn Institute
Retired Battalion Chief, Sacramento Metro Fire Department

Zumbathon: “Beat The Heat” 2017

The Firefighters Burn Institute, fourth ZUMBATHON ®, Beat the Heat. Join us as we “Beat the Heat” while exercising with some of Sacramento’s best Zumba ® Instructors and Sacramento’s heroic Firefighters!

There will also be:

  • Fire Engine Display
  • Pictures with Sacramento’s Firefighters
  • Raffle
  • Shirt design station

Last Year’s Event

Zumbathon “Beat the Heat” 2016 was a huge success!! visit CMYK Photography for event photos from the very talented Chris Kisela. Also make sure to check out our fun segment on Good Day Sacramento!

Survivor Story: Alex Galang

The true story of one Sacramento Firefighter’s sacrifice and his road to recovery.

Upon entering his first house fire, the entryway floor collapsed beneath the weight of firefighter Alex Galang. The fall of over seven feet sent him to his back on the dark basement floor below.

Recognizing how deadly a situation he was in, Alex knew he had to act fast. Reaching for the floor joists, he attempted to climb to safety on his own. In the struggle, he lost both gloves, while his hands, arms, head, and calves started to burn. As his life flashed before his eyes, he kept focused on one thing: getting back to his wife, Tina.

Alex, still in ICU, with wife Tina. January 2015

Another firefighter fell into the basement soon after. After calling a mayday out over the radio, Alex crouched down to boost his friend to safety. The pain from the burns was excruciating as I stood in that hot basement, recalls Alex.

But Alex’s ordeal didn’t end here. First, the rescue ladder lost its footing, crashing Alex to the floor yet again. Next, the unintended blast of a firehose struck him in the head. Devastated, tired, in pain, and out of breath, his oxygen mask was now filling with water.

Support crews moved quickly, as a second ladder arrived alongside shouts of encouragement. With only 90 seconds of air in his respirator left to breathe, the crew above pulled Alex free. The injured firefighter was immediately taken to UC Davis Medical Center.

E6 crew passing probation April 2016
E6 crew passing probation. April 2016

Alex suffered second and third degree burns to his head, hands, arms and legs. A three-week stay in the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center was necessary. His care program ranged from skin grafts to rehabilitative therapies and emotional care. Alex attributes his recovery to the hard work and compassion of (those) at the Burn Center, the Firefighters Burn Institute, and Sacramento City Fire Department. From the hospital stay, to the emotional support, I felt my injuries were completely taken care of. Alex notes that the encouragement of and connection with the burn community played a vital role in his recovery.

Now back to full duty as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Sacramento Fire Department, Alex continues to push himself to grow. In many ways, he finds, my mental health recovery is far more complex than my physical burns. Managing anxiety and symptoms of my PTSD will always be a part of my life.

The community continues to help Alex learn to live with this new ‘normal.’ Recently attending the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress was an important step. There, he met many inspiring burn survivors, and shared his own first-hand experience to inspire others. All in all, the FFBI played a huge role in my recovery and continues to support me in my journey as a burn survivor. I am forever thankful for the FFBI!


FFBI is incredibly proud of the role we play in improving the lives of burn survivors and the community at large but…

We can’t do it alone!

There are many different ways to get involved and help the Firefighters Burn Institute!

  • Sponsor a fundraiser through your office
  • Host a boot drive in your community
  • Take part in a pledge challenge
  • Host a special event on behalf of FFBI
  • Make a tax-deductible gift

If you would like to help out and get more involved please contact us, we would love to hear from you!

How Will You Make A Difference?

Bal Des Pompiers (Ball of the Firefighters)

Join us for an evening at the beautiful Brasserie Capitale restaurant in Downtown Sacramento for a Bastille Day celebration!

This French holiday has strong historic ties to the fire service and in honor of this tradition, Brasserie Capitale will be donating all proceeds from the event to the Firefighters Burn Institute.

Enjoy live music, wine, champagne, cocktails, food, dancing and more! Tickets available for purchase on Eventbrite.

Big Day of Giving 2017

At the stroke of midnight on May 4th, the Sacramento region will come together for one Big Day of Giving – a 24 hour giving challenge that helps affirm what we all know makes this the place we call home the best a community can be. Join us by logging onto www.bigdayofgiving.org between 12am – 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 4rd and give where your heart is!
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