September 2020 Burn Bulletin

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September 2020 Burn Bulletin

Burn Survivor Bill of Rights

All those affected by burn injuries engaging with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation deserve and are entitled to these rights:

  1. To be treated with fairness and respect for your privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse.
  2. To considerate and respectful care, and to feel safe and welcomed.
  3. To prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the public and to have personal privacy respected. To confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to your care and participation in AARBF events, programs and services.
  4. To reasonable notice of all AARBF public events.
  5. To have the safety of the burn survivor, the burn survivor’s family, volunteers and the general public considered before any program decision is made.
  6. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to those served by AARBF will be professional in nature.
  7. To effective communication and to feel free to ask questions about AARBF’s programs and services, and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
  8. To a reasonable response to any reasonable requests made for service.
  9. To exercise these rights without regard to gender expression, economic status, educational background, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, marital status, registered domestic partner status, cultural, psychosocial, spiritual, and personal values, beliefs and preferences.
  10. To file a grievance. If you want to file a grievance with AARBF, you may do so by contacting Jennifer Radics-Johnson, Executive Director via email or call (818) 848-0223 ext. 12. Anonymous grievance reports may also be submitted using the third party company Fraud Hotline by calling 1-855-FRAUD-HL or by submitting an online form at using the company code AARBF. Suspected grievance reports will be forwarded to the Executive Director and the Board President for review.

Wildfire Recovery Resources Available

In August, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency due to the many wildfires burning across the state, which have been exacerbated by the effects of the historic West Coast heat wave and sustained high winds.

We know that wildfires can be stressful and AARBF offers two valuable resources to help with the wildfire recovery process. The first addresses some of the ways children may be affected by wildfires, and offers suggestions about how to help restore a sense of safety and comfort in their world. To download a copy visit our website at:

Our second resource focuses on the affect wildfires can have on burn survivors. Wildfires are stressful and bring up feelings of fear, helplessness, anger, grief and loss (these are just a sample of the many feelings). Our body has built in responses that help us respond to danger and put us into action for survival. Yet when someone has already experienced a traumatic event, especially but not limited to a burn due to fire, old trauma and unresolved trauma can be activated. Wildfires have so many of the triggers associated with a traumatic event. To learn more, visit our website at

In addition to these wellness resources, AARBF provides a Wildfires Victims and Survivors Relief Fund which was established to provide financial assistance to those affected by burn injuries due to wildfires. If you or someone you know was burn injured due to the wildfires throughout California, AARBF is here to help! To learn more, please contact us at 800-755-BURN (2876).

COVID-19 and You: Social Impact Assessment Survey

The devastation of COVID-19 will create one of the biggest social issues of our time.

We are inviting you to participate in a Survey, to provide us with valuable insights on your evolving needs and perceptions about COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to unfold. The types of questions in the survey relate to:

  • Challenges you are facing as a result of social isolation;
  • Perceived concerns around catching the virus;
  • How you are currently accessing information;
  • What is providing relief for you during this time;
  • Your perceived sense of community safety; and
  • Your perceived impact of the economic implications of COVID-19.

We will be checking in with a follow-up survey every week for the next 2 months, and then monthly thereafter. Each Survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.

The information you provide will help us to understand your sentiment and concerns during this critical time, enabling us to help accordingly.

Click on this link to get started:

Your responses will remain anonymous and will help with our efforts to better understand the impact COVID-19 has had on our staff, volunteers and burn survivors and families whom we serve.

If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate support and assistance.

50 Years 50 Stories

We are quickly approaching our 50th Anniversary.  Fifty years of providing prevention education and supporting burn survivors and their families throughout California. So many memories, so many stories. We would love to hear your story! We are looking for fifty stories to include in a special coffee table book which will be released in time for our 50th Anniversary Gala.

Please tell us how AARBF has impacted your life! As a burn survivor and/or family member/supporter of a burn survivor, we want to hear your journey of healing and how AARBF’s programs and services have helped you along that road. As a volunteer and/or first responder, we want to know what brought you to AARBF and how spending your time with us has changed your life. As a donor, we would love to know why you continue to support AARBF and what part of our work and story resonates with you? Everyone’s story is important and worth telling!

Visit our website 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, give us a call.

Help Us to Help You

As COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, burn survivors and families, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation will continue to provide vital supportive and prevention services virtually. But we need your help! Please complete a brief survey so we may determine your technology needs:

Our Women’s Retreat Goes Virtual

Like you, we started this year with many activities planned. This summer we were going to host the first annual Women’s Retreat weekend! Vowing to not let COVID-19 stop us, we instead hosted a Women’s Empowerment Webinar on August 19. This webinar, co-hosted by Cindy Rutter and Ruth Rimmer, was spent with an amazing group of burn survivor women. We discussed topics including; sexuality, intimacy, and body image. We hope this webinar will act as a preview for when we are able to hold an in-person Women’s Retreat!

For those of you who were not able to attend last month’s webinar or are interested in learning more about these topics, please visit our website at to watch the recording. We would like to extend a big thank you to Cindy, Ruth and all of our attendees! We hope to see you next summer in-person!

Calling All Volunteers!

Our AARBF volunteers are vital to our mission and are our front-liners in significantly reducing the number of burn injuries through prevention education and enhancing the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries in California. If you are an AARBF volunteer, we encourage you to share your opinions with us through a quick 5-minute survey. Your responses will help us understand what we can do to improve your volunteer experience. Completing this survey will also ensure we have the most up to date information for you! Click on the link to start your survey:

Scholarships Available for World Burn Congress

The Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress has gone virtual! AARBF is providing financial assistance to cover costs for registration to participate in this year’s three-day virtual conference on October 23-25. In addition, the Phoenix Society will be holding a separate three-day virtual conference with Youth and Family Programming on October 19 – 22, 2020. To apply for a Phoenix World Burn Congress Scholarship through AARBF, please visit our website at

AARBF Staff and Board Hold Virtual Retreats

Being a state-wide organization means having staff and volunteers scattered throughout the state. So, twice per year both Staff and the Board and Council hold in-person retreats. These retreats are designed to give everyone an opportunity to be together and build synergy, strengthening bonds and igniting a passion for our mission. But this is 2020, meeting in-person was not an option!

On Friday, August 21, Staff held a virtual retreat where they completed a team activity, discussed the challenges and advantages of working remotely, and ways to finish 2020 strong! They then shifted gears and focused on the future, working on organizational and individual goals, and the 2021 event calendar. And to help staff with their personal goals, Board President Russ Charvonia presented on Personal Financial Planning!

On Saturday, August 22, the Board of Directors and Council of Advisors held their virtual retreat. Their discussions included a mid-year budget checkup and financial review, progress on 2020 goals in the Strategic Plan, and started each committee on their path to developing goals for 2021.

While these retreats may not have been held in their usual way, they were still focused and productive with members engaging in the process to ensure we continue on the path to ending 2020 strong and looking forward to a phenomenal 2021!

Maintaining Relationships with Regional Burn Units

The AARBF Regional Managers maintain relationships with the burn units in their regions. It is through these burn units we are first introduced to newly burn-injured patients and their families. At various times throughout the year, AARBF staff make special hospital visits, not just to visit patients, but to meet with burn unit staff and share with them the resources available to burn survivors. During this pandemic, AARBF has been modifying our programs to meet state and CDC guidelines, however due to these guidelines we have been unable to visit with burn unit staff in-person to share our program modifications. Since we have taken our programs virtual, it made sense to take our information to the burn units virtually as well!

On August 31, AARBF hosted a webinar specifically designed for burn unit staff to share with them how we have been modifying our programs and how we can meet the needs of the burn patients in their care. We had 28 people participate in the webinar including staff from Santa Clara Valley Medical, Torrance Memorial, St. Francis Memorial, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and Fresno Community! Thank you to all of our participants and we hope to visit you again soon!

Upcoming Events:

September 8: Alisa Ann Ruch’s Birthday

September 18: (5:00pm – 6:00pm), Virtual Beach Adventure, registration form is online at Contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 for more details.

October 1: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Family and Caregiver Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 4-10: Fire Prevention Week

October 4: (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.

October 6: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

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

October 8: Virtual Central Coast Fire Chief’s Burn Relay

October 13: (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.

October 14: (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 or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

October 14: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

October 15: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 19-22: Youth and Family Programming, hosted by Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors

October 20: Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

October 23-25: World Burn Congress, hosted by Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, scholarships are available at

October 29: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

If you missed any of our past Burn Bulletins, please check out our archives.

Just a reminder to go to; click on Upcoming Events, for the latest AARBF events and activities that need your support.