The Getaway Family Camp Goes Virtual!
Each year, AARBF hosts The Getaway, a weekend camp for burn survivors and their families. This camp is important to our burn survivor families so we modified it for a virtual experience.
We had 50 burn survivors, along with their family and friends, participating over three nights, September 3-5. We packed a lot into our 3 virtual sessions: bingo, movie night, pizza night, Our Moments game cards, children specific activities, Jenga, campfire, a family craft, coupon book activity and a letter of appreciation activity. Each family received a “Camp in a Box” so they had everything they needed to participate! We enjoyed spending time with our burn survivors and their families even if it did look a bit different this year!
Virtually hosting almost 150 participants could not been possible without our fabulous The Getaway Family Camp Team: Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez, Daniel “Apollo” Chacon, Scott “Scooter” Wertz, McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern, Fabiola “Hamster” Velaport, Jasmine “Rajah” Velaport, Peter “Chop Suey” Reynaga, Dave “D” Allan, Jeff “Ricky Rescue” Martin, Alyna “Alpine” Anderson, Cindy “Cinderella” Rutter, Isabel “Belle” Dominguez, Stacey “Snoopy” Shames, and Arely “Tokyo” Grageola. We appreciate you!
We hope everyone enjoyed The Getaway and we look forward to seeing you all next year!
AARBF Shares Our Successes and Struggles in 2020
Alisa Ann Ruch would have been 58 years old on September 8, 2020. As an organization, created in her name, her birthday is a time for us to pause, to reflect and remember how it all began. We are driven by her memory to prevent burn injuries and help with the healing process for those who have been injured.
During this time of remembrance, we also looked at the challenges this year has brought to our country, our state, and our burn community. As a nonprofit organization, we have committed ourselves to keep our doors open to our burn community and adapt our prevention education through these challenging times. It hasn’t always been easy, but we strive every day to provide the services our burn survivors and communities need to thrive. If you have not yet viewed it, we encourage you to watch our video showcasing the successes and struggles this year has brought.
Get Active with Yoga
September was National Yoga Month and we celebrated by adding a new yoga video in our Multimedia Resource Library! At the launch of our library, we introduced a Beginning Yoga video and now we have an Intermediate Yoga video to keep you moving.
Yoga offers many benefits including, increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality. It can help you to maintain a balanced metabolism and help with weight reduction.
Even if you have never tried yoga before, you can do it with the help of our videos.
Beginning Yoga: https://www.aarbf.org/get-active/beginner-yoga-adult/
Intermediate Yoga: https://www.aarbf.org/get-active/intermediate-yoga/
For more videos from our “Get Active” series, please visit the Multimedia Resource Library on our website!
Surfing the Virtual Waves
We had over 20 burn survivors register for our first ever Virtual Beach Adventure! While it may not have been the same as surfing in the ocean, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our burn survivor family.
The evening started with a video created by several camp counselors giving the kids a big virtual hello! We then enjoyed beach vibes from watching a slideshow of pictures from the past 5 years of the surfing/kayaking event. It was fun to see how everyone changed from year to year! But the real fun of the evening was from all the smiles and laughs while we playing several rounds of Pictionary. There were some interesting drawings!
Thank you to our dedicated and much appreciated volunteers: Chop Suey, Pretzel, Squid, Viper, Snoopy, and staff members Apollo, Scooter and Bubbles! We are thankful for all of you!
Thank you to everyone who attended. Even though we couldn’t go to the beach, you all made the best of it!
Dial 211 for Burn Survivor Support
On September 22, 2020, AARBF’s Jennifer Radics-Johnson provided a presentation for 211 Contra Costa to share with them the programs and services AARBF provides so they can refer callers looking for burn survivor support.
The Contra Costa Crisis Center manages 211 Contra Costa, an extraordinary database of useful resources and information for Contra Costa County residents. You can access social service and health information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling the three-digit, toll-free number “211” from any phone. Nearly 700 agencies and organizations contribute to provide more than 1,600 services and programs to County residents in need via the 211 database. In addition to calling 211, you can access their information on the 211 Contra Costa website, and even launch a live chat session if you’d prefer. The site also has important Contra Costa County Resource guides available in English and Spanish.
As a statewide organization, AARBF hopes to reach more 211’s throughout the state to assist with quicker and more effective referrals when it comes to burn survivor support. Thank you, 211 Contra Costa for the good work that you do and for wanting to learn more about AARBF’s programs and services. Together we will provide better support for burn survivors in Contra Costa County!
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
In September, we concluded our weekly FISE Friday series on our Facebook and Instagram social media pages with the new Virtual FISE Program. FISE is our Firefighters in Safety Education elementary school fire and burn prevention program. This program is taught by Firefighters in classrooms and school assemblies teaching 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, Don’t Hide; High-Five a Firefighter. But with COVID-19, school education looks very different this year. In response to these changes, AARBF modified the in-class program to a virtual platform, perfect for remote learning!
The FISE Program measures success through 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.
Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Take the test and find out! https://forms.gle/8BcsqQug735GjFN9A
If you would like to bring the FISE Program to your school or fire department, please contact Daniel Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AARBF Partners with Raising a Reader
On September 25, AARBF’s Jennifer Radics-Johnson presented at the weekly Raising a Reader Town Hall to their affiliates throughout the United States. Jennifer’s presentation included the virtual fire and burn prevention materials available from AARBF and she encouraged the affiliates to share these free resources during Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10.
We appreciate the opportunity to share our materials, allowing us to reach beyond California with our prevention education efforts!
To view or download prevention materials for yourself and your family, please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/burn-prevention/.
You Are Invited to Share Your Story
Last month, we shared with you our plans to create a coffee table book in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. We are looking for fifty stories from burn survivors, volunteers, donors and supporters.
You may not think you have a compelling story, but you do! Everyone has a story and every story is important.
Are you a volunteer? If you have volunteered for camp or an activity, you have made an impact on this organization. We know how your volunteerism benefitted us, but what about you? How did volunteering for AARBF change your life?
Are you a donor? What is it about AARBF that appeals to you? Are you inspired by the journeys of our burn survivors? Or, are you driven to ensure every person knows how to Stop, Drop & Roll?
Are you a burn survivor? We want to hear your journey of healing and how AARBF’s programs and services have helped you along that road.
Has it been a while since you have been with us? Your story is still as important today as when you were living it. We have had 50 years of people coming in and out of our doors, leaving an indelible mark benefitting past generations and those still to come.
Visit our website https://www.aarbf.org/fifty-stories/ to submit your story today. Please keep in mind, it does not have to be perfect when it comes from the heart! If you need help getting started (or prefer we do the writing) give us a call, we look forward to speaking with you.
Committee Members Wanted
Looking for a rewarding volunteer experience but your time is limited? Why not try one of our committees? AARBF has several Board and Council committees open to non-board/council members. Most committee participation is virtual and only requires one zoom meeting per month. You choose your area of interest, Survivor Programs, Prevention and Education, Development and Fundraising, or Communications. Contact the office at 818-848-0223 to learn more about these committees and how you can join us today!
Introducing Wildfire P.R.E.P.A.R.E.
California has seen one of the most destructive and deadly wildfires this year, with millions of acres burned, thousands of structures lost and dozens of people who have perished…and we are only in October.
Wildfires are started by one of two causes: nature or humans. Last year, 87% of wildfires were caused by humans. There are ways that we as individuals, families and communities can P.R.E.P.A.R.E. for a wildfire.
When it comes to wildfire preparedness, there are a number of great resources available from many credible agencies, including: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), American Red Cross, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and US Fire Administration (USFA), among many others.
AARBF’s P.R.E.P.A.R.E. organizes the information, tips and guidance provided by these agencies and organizations into 7 easy steps on how you can P.R.E.P.A.R.E. for a wildfire:
Plan: The best way to prepare for a wildfire is to make a plan. There are several plans you should consider in preparing for a wildfire including: Home Safety Plan, Home Evacuation Plan, Important Documents Plan, Community Evacuation Plan and a Communication Plan. In addition, you want to put together emergency supply kits and register to receive free emergency alerts that your community offers.
Review and Rehearse: You and members of your household need to review the plans that you have created regularly. In addition to reviewing the plans, it is best to rehearse your plans in order to ensure that you and every one in your household know exactly what to do in case of a wildfire.
- Practice your Home Escape Plan regularly
- Review and update your Communication Plan regularly to ensure that the contact information that you have is up-to-date.
- Make sure that all family members understand how to STOP, DROP AND ROLL if their clothes should catch fire
Evacuate: The authorities issue evacuation alerts, warnings and orders in order to ensure your safety and the safety of others. These alerts, warnings and orders should be taken seriously, and instructions from the authorities on how to evacuate safely should be followed. There are three levels of Evacuation:
- Evacuation Alert: A wildfire threat is in your area. It would be wise to consider planning and/or packing, in the event an evacuation becomes necessary.
- Evacuation Warning: High probability of a need to evacuate. You can voluntarily evacuate.
- Evacuation Order: Danger is currently affecting your area or is imminent, and you should leave immediately.
Prepare to Return Home: After an evacuation, you may want to think about when and how you will be able to return home. Returning home may be quick or may take some time. It is important to stay informed to understand the current conditions and what to consider when making the decision on when to return home.
- Listen to news reports for updates on the wildfire conditions
- Pay attention to emergency alerts and your community’s warning system
Assess and Adjust: While evacuated, there may be a lot of thoughts running through your mind: When can I go home? What happened to my home? What am I going to do now? Take some time to assess your current situation and possibly make adjustments to your plan to return home.
- Assess if your home is the safest place to return. Will temporary housing or lodging be needed?
- Assess your and your loved ones’ mental wellbeing. Wildfires are traumatic events and can bring feelings of anger, sadness and fear. Check-in with yourself and others to see how you are feeling and what support is needed.
- Adjust your plan to return home accordingly. If your home has been destroyed or severely damaged in the wildfire, start making plans for temporary or longer-term living arrangements
Return Home and Evaluate: Once evacuation orders have been lifted and authorities have deemed it safe to return home, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind:
- Do not return home until authorities say it is safe
- Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.
- Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles, and downed wires.
- Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
Whether you live in an area prone to wildfires, or you live in an area that has not been directly impacted by wildfires, AARBF’s Wildfire PREPARE will provide you with important information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe in case of a wildfire. Visit www.aarbf.org/prepare for more information and please continue to share ways that you and your family PREPARE for a wildfire on social media with #aarbfprepare.
November 1: Daylight Savings Time Ends, remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms!
November 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Family and Caregiver Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
November 1: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
November 3: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
November 12: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive log-in information.
November 10: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 to receive log-in information.
November 11: Veterans Day
November 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Online Support Group, this group has now been combined with the Santa Rosa Support Group. Contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
November 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
November 12: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Virtual Paint Night, download a registration form at https://www.aarbf.org/event/paint-night-2020/. Contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 for more information.
November 19: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
November 17: Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
November 19: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.
November 26-27: Thanksgiving, All AARBF Offices Closed