November 2021 Burn Bulletin

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November 2021 Burn Bulletin

AARBF Celebrates 50 Years of Service with a Virtual Gala and Auction

On Saturday, October 2, 2021, AARBF hosted a virtual 50th Anniversary Gala and Auction where we raised over $52,000! Guests were treated to a video presentation showcasing the new “Origins of Stop, Drop and Roll” exhibit, now on display at the LA County Fire Museum. Attendees got to hear from our Founder, Diane Ruch Host, who spoke about why she felt compelled to create a foundation in her daughter’s name. In addition, Autumn Ruch shared a preview of her documentary about the impact of that Memorial Weekend in 1970, and how it changed the Ruch family forever.

Thank you to our fabulous MC for the evening, E.R. Ruiz, our charismatic live auctioneer, Clif Stewart, and board member, Andrew Mersmann, who helped end our event on such a high note!

The fun does not end here! We will continue to offer special items for purchase on our auction page to help continue your support of AARBF until the end of the year. To make your purchase, please visit:

AARBF Participates in National Fire Prevention Week

This year’s National Fire Prevention Week was October 3-9, 2021.  The theme was “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!”, which put the focus on educating children and adults about smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, their necessity, and how the sounds they make help to save lives.

This is a very important topic. However, in honor of our 50th Anniversary, we spent the week highlighting the prevention education that we offer year-round throughout California on our social media platforms.

The programs we highlighted during National Fire Prevention Week were:

Firefighters in Safety Education (FISE)
This is an elementary school-level fire and burn prevention program taught by Firefighters in classrooms and school assemblies that teaches seven key prevention components:

  • Smoke Alarms
  • Get Low and Go
  • Stop, Drop & Roll
  • Cool-a-Burn
  • Tools vs. Toys
  • How to Use 9-1-1
  • High-Five a Firefighter.

In 2020, we modified the FISE program for virtual learning and now anyone can view the FISE lessons and take the pre- and post-tests!  With our Virtual FISE Program – using one link – you will begin with the pre-test, view the video presentation of the seven prevention components, and then take the post-test. We encourage you to incorporate these important safety lessons into your virtual learning. 

Senior Prevention and Risk Conversations (SPARC)
SPARC is an interactive and customized program designed to engage older adults (ages 55 years and older) in conversations about fire and burn safety, in a comfortable and casual environment. Earlier this year, we teamed up with AARP California to include SPARC topics in their FREE HomeFit workshops. Watch our social media for announcements about upcoming sessions and how you can join in!

Meet the Johnson’s Book Series
We announced the 5th and final book of the “Meet the Johnsons” book series, “The Johnsons P.R.E.P.A.R.E. for a Wildfire,” which is now available for download on the AARBF website at: This book shows how the Johnson family uses AARBF’s Wildfire P.R.E.P.A.R.E. Guide to prepare their family for wildfires. You too can get wildfire ready! Visit our website at to get started today.

N.I.C.K. for Fire & Burn Safety
AARBF has partnered with Pyramid Consulting to develop the N.I.C.K. for Fire & Burn Safety program to help bring fire and burn safety education to a wider population including those with developmental disabilities, autism, and/or communication challenges. Inspired by Jacqueline Laurita, mother of a son with autism (Nicholas), the goal of the program is to provide life-saving lessons and burn prevention education to learners with special needs, who are more vulnerable to preventable exposure to danger and are at a higher risk for burn injuries. Utilizing the safety messages from AARBF’s “Firefighters in Safety Education” program, the N.I.C.K. Fire and Burn Safety program incorporates a fire and burn prevention picture set that can be used for expressive communication via the PECS protocol, receptive communication, as well as within visual stories and life lessons to help learners understand fire and burn safety. The N.I.C.K. program is available for download in English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese at:

Safe and Warm
As Fall turns to Winter and temperatures drop, burn centers and fire departments throughout California will see an increased number of patients from the unhoused communities. AARBF – along with The Midnight Mission in Los Angeles – have partnered in a campaign called Safe and Warm to reduce the number of burn injuries and fires among this community. The goal of Safe and Warm is to provide prevention education specific to their unique needs. This will be accomplished through handout materials, blankets printed with burn prevention messaging, and community outreach. The most common injuries are caused by candles in tents, or flames ignited by butane or propane from cooking. To learn more, visit our website at:

If you wish to learn more about the FREE prevention information and materials available to you through AARBF, please visit our website at:

AARBF Goes Live with Safe Kids Central California

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, AARBF’s McKenzie Dern participated in a Safe Kids Central California Facebook Live and talked about burn prevention! This Facebook Live focused on prevention related to the Fall season – smoke alarms, candles, escape plans and the Stop, Drop and Roll method.

You can click here to view the replay.

AARBF Hosts Special Town Hall for Parents

On Monday, October 11, 2021, AARBF hosted a Back-to-School Town Hall designed to address the concerns surrounding sending a child survivor back to school. The Town Hall was held virtually and, along with AARBF staff, we were joined by Alexis Castro, Child Life specialist in the burn unit at Fresno Community regional Medical Center, and Cindy Rutter, License Marriage and family therapist and burn survivor, who answered parents’ questions and addressed important topics, such as bullying and how to best support their child during their return to school right after a burn injury, or for those who might be attending a new school. We had eight families participate. If you are interested in events like this, please contact your Regional Manager and watch our social media for future sessions!

AARBF Attends 6th Annual Bocce Ball Tournament

On October 15, 2021, the South San Francisco Firefighters Local 1507 hosted its 6th Annual Bocce Ball Tournament benefiting the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation! Nearly 100 bocce ball players participated – including AARBF’s very own Otter and Mouser! It was a great day of bocce ball, raffle prizes, food, drinks and great company. SSFD Firefighters Local 1507 pledged $3,000 to AARBF from the proceeds of the tournament! Thank you to Anthony Fisicaro, Todd Rael and SSFD Firefighters Local 1507 for continuing to support AARBF through this great event!

AARBF Presents the BeSafe Tool at FPI Conference

AARBF’s Daniel Chacon was in Washington State to attend the 2021 Fire Prevention Institute (FPI) Conference, held October 18-22, 2021 in Lake Chelan and sponsored by the Washington State Fire Marshall Office. The FPI focuses on important prevention and strategy issues facing fire officials, including essential training hours needed for code recertification.

Daniel was more than an attendee, delivering a presentation on AARBF’s Behavioral Evaluation and Safety Assessment for Fire Education Tool (BeSafe Tool). The BeSafe Tool is designed to be used by the fire service and fire safety advocates to evaluate their existing programs’ effectiveness in creating behavioral change. It can also be applied to any new programs they may create. The goal of any fire safety training is to create behavior changes in our audience. We want participants to be able to take steps to avoid an emergency and – if one does happen – to know the correct action to take. The BeSafe Tool can help support ongoing prevention efforts and ensure their effectiveness!

Visit our prevention page to learn more about the prevention programs available through AARBF at:

AARBF Attends the 2021 Phoenix World Burn Congress

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation was proud to support the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress by funding 25 burn survivors and family members – as well as five AARBF staff – to attend the 2021 conference. Although the conference was held virtually again this year, there were plenty of great learning sessions, support groups, and ways to stay engaged throughout the conference weekend, which ran October 22-24, 2021.

In addition to attending the virtual conference and funding 25 scholarships, AARBF hosted two virtual events over the weekend, including the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s 5th Annual Ice Cream Social and a Scholarship Awardee Luncheon/Debrief. Participants of the Ice Cream Social event received gift certificates to Baskin Robbins and were treated to a live game session. Scholarship awardees were provided gift certificates for Door Dash and had the opportunity to gather after the closing of the conference to debrief about the weekend.

We are so grateful to the Phoenix Society for putting on another great Phoenix World Burn Congress the year, as well as to all of the AARBF PWBC Scholarship awardees, AARBF staff, Board and Council of Advisors who participated and really immersed themselves in the conference over the weekend! Looking forward to an in-person PWBC in 2022!

Creating Fiction with Monkey

On Thursday, October 28, 2021, Andrew “Monkey” Mersmann was our guest speaker for the Writing Expression session. He led our 15 guests through several exercises to develop a fictional character and many of the participants were able to find therapy through writing and escaping into the character they created.

If you were not able to join us, a recording of the session is available on our website at

Be sure to join us for our final Expression session for 2021 – Art Expression! This session will be on a special night – Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 7:00pm. – with Kelly “Sunflower” Dern walking you through creating a holiday picture. Registration is required and is due by November 22, 2021 so that we have time to send out your supplies. Register today at:

You’re Invited to Spend the Evening with AARBF in Clovis

Join us in the Central Valley on December 11, 2021 for AARBF’s Dinner & Dance! This in-person event includes a dinner, cash bar, live auction, dessert auction, silent auction, and music played throughout the night. Tickets are $30 each or get a table for $230 (seats 8). This is our 11th year in Clovis and it has always been a great night of fun! We hope that you will join us. Purchase your tickets today at

Volunteer Opportunties:

Please check with your regional office for more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15

For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16

Upcoming Events:


November 30: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Art Expression. Please note the date change. This special session will be the last session of the year. Contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or

November 30: Giving Tuesday


December 2: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

December 4: (11:00am – 2:30pm), Central California Holiday Party

December 5: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

December 7: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

December 8: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

December 9: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

December 11: (5:00pm – 10:00pm), AARBF’s Dinner & Dance in Clovis, CA

December 11: (Noon-2:00pm), Northern California Holiday Party – SCVMC

December 12: (11:00am – 3:00pm), Southern California Holiday Party

December 12: (Noon – 2:00pm), Northern California Holiday Party – East Bay

December 14: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

December 16: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

December 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

December 23: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.


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