|EMPLOYEE SUPPORT COORDINATORS/ CHAPLAINS|
There are many programs and associations set up to help members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. One such program is the Employee Support Coordinator (ESC) / Chaplain Program.
The original function of this program was to assist County firefighters when they became severely injured or ill. Since that time, it has expanded to include all Fire Department uniformed and civilian members.
Once Fire Command and Control Facility dispatchers are notified that a member has been sent to the hospital, the ESC / Chaplain on duty will travel to the hospital to check on the employee, make necessary notification to both family and Fire Department personnel, and continue to follow the progress of the employee, assisting them in various ways as they recover, including emotional and spiritual support.
ESC's / Chaplains also assist in the event of a death. When a member of the Department passes away, they help family members with making funeral arrangements, conducting funeral services when requested and helping surviving family members locate death benefits due to them.
In 1996, a special tax-deductible fund was created to assist Fire Department members and their families. This fund is supported through donations, which help defray costs associated with providing special help in times of crisis.
THE CHAPLAIN'S BENEVOLENT FUND
The Chaplain's Benevolent Fund was set up to help Fire Department employees who have run into a stroke of bad luck or tragedy involving themselves or their families. On one occasion, the family of an injured firefighter needed a motel room that was close to the hospital in which their loved one was admitted. The fund was able to donate $300 for their room. Another was when funds were not available to pay for a relative's funeral. In this case, funds were made for the entire burial.
Monies donated to this fund are safeguarded until needed in one of three organizations that can legally accept money for the Fire Department. These include the Los Angeles County Benefit and Welfare Association, the Los Angeles County Fire Museum Association, and the Los Angeles County Firefighters Memorial Committee. Once a request is made for funds, the Chaplains discuss the request and make a decision based on their agreement.
HOW CAN I MAKE A DONATION?
Donations from the public are always welcome. To make a donation contact the Chaplain's Benevolent Fund at 323-881-2427.
Currently, Captain Paul Rusin serves as the Head ESC / Chaplain. He began his career with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in 1998. In the year 2007, he became a Fire Department ESC / Chaplain and is presently a Fire Captain with ESC / Chaplain duties. His peers voted him as Senior ESC / Chaplain on January 1, 2012, a position that he highly respects and holds with the deepest regard.
There are currently seven active-duty ESC / Chaplains, six retiree Chaplains and two "Associates", acting as reserve Chaplains when the others become overwhelmed with excessive work. Recently, Rabbi Chaim Kolodny joined the ranks of this wonderful program which helps and comforts so many of our employees in their time of sorrow or trouble.