Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities is planning an eventful year in 2013. There are multiple projects underway and grant programs in the works. The support Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities has received from the members of the fire service and public within Hillsborough County has been overwhelming. We have had the opportunity to impact the lives of several families of fallen firefighters, as well as a number of individuals within Hillsborough County.

In keeping with our mission Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities will be continue to support - 1) The Fire Assistance Program; 2) The Smoke Detector Awareness Program.

The Fire Assistance Program

Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities' pilot program with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has proven to very poppular and timley. Hillsborough County Fire Rescuenow has the ability thorugh their Public Resource Officers to reach out and provide needed items for families who have had a fire in their home.

After a residential fire, the scene is chaotic. A home is in shambles, firefighters are moving about everywhere, lights are flashing, smoke fills the air and a family typically finds themselves displaced. Any belongings that survived are layered in ashes and soot, while other items are never recovered. Some people are fortunate and the damage is minimal, but all too often many lose all thier possessions. In some situations, families cannot return to their homes for weeks or months.

This program will give Hillborough County Fire Rescue the means and opportunity to provide families who have had such a tragedy a package for each member that includes basic needs and toiletries, as well as other items. It is our hope that this will be the first step to normalcy on a road to recovering what was lost.

The Smoke Detector Awareness Program

With the advent of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue's reservists program Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities and HCFR's Prevention Division now have the resources and ability to go door to door in the impoverished and low income areas throughout the county and contacting residents to see if they have a smoke detector in their home. Those residents will be given the opportunity to have one given to them and installed, if necessary, at no charge. Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities understands the decisions families are making today on how money is spent in their homes and how it can impact their priorities. However, hundreds of people become victims to house fires every year due to non-existant or inoperable detection devices. Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities, along Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, is looking to decrease those numbers and increase the chances of survival for the citizens of Hillsborough County.

The Back-to-School Backpack Program

Hillsborough County Fire Firefighters, Local 2294 have launched a program in select Hillsborough County Schools to provide much needed assistance and resources to the teachers and children in the Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County Firefighters Charities has provided the backpacks that will contain a myriad of school supplies that include, pens, pencils, glue, tape, paper, etc all purchased by Local 2294. The first school to benefit from this program will be Bryan Elementary School in Plant City, Florida. They will receive their backpacks on August 15th.