The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation is happy to announce its newest partnership with Scott Safety to help keep firefighters safe. Jeff Cool, Foundation Board member and FDNY Black Sunday fire survivor, met with Pierre Desrochers, Zone Manager and Matt Meagher, Regional Sales Manager for Scott Safety on February 5, 2015. A check for $10,000 from Scott Safety was presented to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation to help train and equip firefighters throughout North America.
The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, established in 2012, “carries on Joey’s legacy by training firefighters and providing personal life safety rope systems to departments in the United States and Canada which do not have the means to provide this important life-saving equipment,” says Chief Joe DiBernardo. The Foundation achieves its mission by holding training events that promote firefighter safety and raises funds to support its grant program.
Scott Safety, a Tyco business, is a premier manufacturer of innovative respiratory and personal protective equipment and safety devices for firefighters, industrial workers, police squads, militaries, homeland security forces, and rescue teams around the world. With five global manufacturing locations, Scott products protect thousands of individuals each day from environmental hazards including smoke, toxic fumes, combustible gases, falling objects, and contaminants.
Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation provides equipment and training
On Sunday, January 23, 2005, six FDNY firefighters were forced to jump from a four-story Bronx tenement after they became trapped by fire while searching for victims in illegally divided rooms. Lt. Curtis Meyran and Firefighter John Bellew died from their injuries that day. Firefighters Eugene Stolowski, Brendan Cawley, Jeff Cool, and Joseph P. "Joey" DiBernardo were critically injured. Later that day, Firefighter Rich Sclafani died in a house fire in Brooklyn, making it the deadliest day for FDNY since September 11, 2001; the day became known as "Black Sunday."
A personal life safety rope carried by Firefighter Jeff Cool helped both he and Joseph DiBernardo to lessen the height of their fall. After the incident, Joey was promoted to lieutenant and continued to train firefighters across the country as a well known fire service instructor. Although, he still lived with the trauma of Black Sunday, he shared his story and stressed the importance of personal life safety ropes and training. However, the effects of that tragic day continued and on November 22, 2011, Joseph DiBernardo died from his Black Sunday injuries at the age of 40.
After Joey's death, a non-profit foundation was established in his memory in 2012 to keep firefighters safe. The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, carries on his legacy by training firefighters and providing grants to departments for personal life safety rope systems and training. An annual seminar is held to raise funds, along with the generous support of sponsors and individual donors. Since 2012, grants totaling over $27,000 have already been awarded to two departments in need.
Ten years later, firefighters from across the country will gather at the Hyatt Long Island on May 29 – 30, 2015, to train and remember Joey DiBernardo. Deputy Chief Joe DiBernardo, Joey's dad and Foundation president, says "it's hard to believe a decade has passed since the fire. There has been so much pain, suffering, tears and memories experienced by the survivors, families, and friends since that day. They will never be forgotten and Joey will live on through the work of his Foundation." For more information about the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation and the 2015 seminar visit www.joeydfoundation.org.
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.
As both a student and an instructor, Joseph P. DiBernardo knew how important training was to being a better firefighter. Even his training company motto, "experience is paramount" reflected this approach to learning. In this same spirit, students from across the country and some of the top fire service instructors will come together for two days of learning in memory of Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, "Joey D," of FDNY and the Setauket Fire Department. The 2nd Annual Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation Seminar will be held on May 16 - 17, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island and will support the work of the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation which works to provide training and funding for life safety rope systems to fire departments in need.
Chief Joseph DiBernardo, Joey’s dad and Foundation president remembers, “The thing Joey loved most in the world was going to fires; his next passion was training firefighters.” The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, started in Joey’s memory, carries on his legacy by training firefighters and providing funds to purchase life safety rope systems to fire departments.
In 2013, the first annual seminar trained 200 firefighters on various topics focusing on the safety and proficiency in their duties. Instructor, FDNY Battalion Chief (Ret.) John Salka recalls the event, "I was so honored last year to be asked to present at the first Joey D Foundation seminar. I was the engine captain where young Joey was assigned as a probie; from day one it was obvious he was something special. He would be so proud to see what the Foundation that bears his name is accomplishing. They are providing world class training to seminar attendees, bail-out ropes for departments that can't afford to buy them on their own, and have future plans to help fire departments that have suffered losses to get back on their feet. I'm proud to have worked with both Joey and Chief DiBernardo and I look forward to seeing you at this year’s seminar.”
After a successful 2013 seminar, a meet and greet component was added to the 2014 event so students could talk with some of the most experienced firefighters and fire officers in the business and ask questions that are important to them. A second day of classroom training features: Pride and Ownership: The Love of the Job, by Chief Rick Lasky; Firefighter & Officer Survival: Simple Fires with Complicated Results, by Chief Billy Goldfeder; Utility Emergency Tactics, by Battalion Chief Frank Montagna; and Man vs. Machine Incidents, by Lt. Mark Gregory.
When you sign up for this year’s seminar you’re not only improving yourself, you’re also helping to remember a fallen brother and helping to provide life-saving training and equipment to other firefighters. “Joey will never be forgotten as long his Foundation exists. Though he is no longer with us, he will still go on teaching and training firefighters through the support that this Foundation receives from firefighters across the country. Those who attend bring that knowledge home and pass it on to their fellow firefighters to further enhance their safety,” explains Chief DiBernardo.