When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, the family may feel overwhelmed as they look for the support and services they need. Many fire service organizations are ready to offer assistance to the survivors.
But not all can provide quality services to the extent that is needed, and funds may not always be directed appropriately to the survivors. The families need to know who they can trust. And donors need to know which organizations will use their donations properly.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Times published a list of the 50 worst charities in America, which included several fire service charities. In an effort to help identify which organizations are trustworthy.
There are many fire service organizations with good intentions for helping the families of the fallen, but the outpouring can be overwhelming. And it can be difficult when making decisions on how and when to donate to know which groups are legitimate and fiscally sound.
I encourage you to thoroughly investigate any organization — fire service and otherwise — that you would like to support. Make sure their intentions are in line with yours, and they have a track record of delivering the services and programs they claim to provide.
Philanthropic partnerships NFFF has been working for some time to build a strong relationship with the philanthropic community, and, because of its belief in quality service delivery and nonprofit integrity, NFFF is registered with the Better Business Bureau, Wise Giving Campaign and Charity Navigator. All of these evaluation tools are ways to ensure that donated resources are going to be used based upon the intent for which they were provided.
The foundation's website contains a lot of useful information about our organizational structure and our fundraising activities. Additionally, it lists all of the financial aspects of the organization, which is a requirement to meet the rating standards of many charity evaluation tools.
It is important to note that NFFF does not use telephone solicitation services or national direct mail campaigns to raise funds. If you are contacted by someone representing themselves as us doing this, please let us know right away.
Together we can ensure that potential donors can trust that their contributions are being used appropriately and survivors are receiving the benefits they deserve.
About the author
Fire Chief Ronald Jon Siarnicki began his fire service career with the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 1978 and with 24 years of fire, rescue and emergency medical services operational experience, he has progressed through the ranks to chief. In July 2001, Chief Siarnicki retired from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department to take the position of executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He is a graduate of the masters program, school of management and technology at the University of Maryland, University College and has a bachelor's of science degree in fire science management from UMUC. He is a certified Fire Officer IV, Firefighter Level III and State Emergency Medical Technician. Prior to joining the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Monessen VFD Hose House 2 and currently serves with the United Communities VFD in Stevensville, Md. Chief Siarnicki can be reached at Ronald.Siarnicki@FireRescue1.com
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser.