Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation Awards Its First Grant to New Department

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, during the 2nd Annual Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation Seminar, the Foundation awarded its first grant for over $13,000. Assistant Chief Wayne Melton, of the Mount Hope Fire Company of Otisville, New York, accepted the funds on behalf of the department. These funds that will provide 14 personal life safety rope systems to protect Mount Hope’s operational members and provide training to use their new equipment.

The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, established in Joey’s memory in 2012, “carries on Joey’s legacy by training firefighters and providing funds to departments in need of life safety rope systems,” says Chief Joe DiBernardo. Grants funds will help departments which do not have the financial means to provide this important life-saving equipment. The Foundation achieves its mission by holding training events that promote firefighter safety in order raise funds to support its grant program.

In 2005, Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, also known to his friends and colleagues as “Joey D,” was critically injured in a Bronx apartment fire where two firefighters perished and three others were also badly injured. A personal safety rope system, carried by fellow Rescue 3 Firefighter Jeff Cool, helped both Joey and Jeff to escape the flames by lowering themselves as far as they could from the four-story jump. After the incident, Joey traveled around the country training firefighters and sharing his story to help other firefighters. His foundation will continue this work, helping firefighters in the United States and Canada.

Additional steps have been taken in New York, to help firefighters stay safe. In August 2012, Governor Cuomo, signed into law a measure to provide New York firefighters with personal safety rope systems or emergency escape systems in the event they become trapped in an elevated structure fire.

The Foundation looks forward to providing additional training and assistance to departments to ensure the safety of firefighters across the United States and Canada. To learn more about the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation’s grant program for personal life safety rope systems or to apply visit: www.joeydfoundation.org.