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Firefighters put boots on the ground

On March 7 local firefighters will take their boots to the streets for the 25th Burn Institute Annual Firefighter Boot Drive. Hundreds of uniformed firefighters will be stationed at intersections across the county to collect donations for the Burn Institute’s fire and burn prevention education and burn survivor support services.

Since 1999, firefighters have hit the streets with boots in hand at intersections around their local community to collect donations during the morning and afternoon commute. Passing motorists fill those boots with their spare change — ones, fives, twenties — even $100 bills. No matter the economy or weather,

San Diegans have always given generously. This year, dedicated firefighters from over 30 departments will hit the streets at over 100 intersections around the county. What began as a grassroots effort backed by the fire service, the Burn Institute’s countywide Boot Drive has become a hallmark fundraiser for the organization raising over $200,000 for Burn Institute programs and services each year. The Burn Institute’s Annual Firefighter Boot Drive is the organization’s largest one-day fundraiser. All funds raised through the Boot Drive stay locally in San Diego County.

“For the past 25 years, fire departments throughout San Diego County have participated in the Boot Drive to reinforce a profound truth: healing is an act of community,” said Tessa Haviland, Executive Director of the Burn Institute. “The unwavering support from the San Diego community and those in fire service have empowered healing, making each contribution much more than just a donation – they are a testament to our collective capacity for compassion.”

The proceeds from this benefit the Burn Institute’s fire and burn prevention education programs and burn survivor support services such as Camp Beyond the Scars for burn-injured children.

This unparalleled camp program has provided a safe place for hundreds of young burn survivors to share their experiences in a supportive and nurturing camp environment. In addition, a portion of the Boot Drive donations are used to sustain the Red Line of Courage Fund, designed to provide financial support to members of the fire service who sustain a burn injury while on duty.

This unique program addresses immediate and long-term needs that arise when local heroes are recovering from the trauma of a burn.

On this annual fundraiser’s 25th anniversary, the Burn Institute and first responder community continues to expand ways to give while ensuring the safety of our community. Banners with QR codes for contactless donations will hang at participating fire stations throughout March promoting the 25th Annual Firefighter Boot Drive.

If you do not catch a red light or see a firefighter on your commute, you can still donate at

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