In late 2019, the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation awarded the Wales Fire Department (MA) a grant for personal safety systems (PSS) and related training. This grant, in the amount of $3,540, was provided by the Foundation in partnership with the Leary Firefighters Foundation, will provide 10 PSS and training they need to escape if there are no other ways out.

“Before the addition of the 10 units, we were only able to attach our current bail out kits to our SCBA harnesses on our attack engine, this ensured that all interior firefighters would have access to them in case of emergency,” notes Captain Ed Fisher. “Though they provided protection, it was not the best scenario, as the kits were not personally assigned and maintained. With the new units we have assigned all bail out kits to our interior firefighters, and they can have a piece of mind knowing their personal protection is in their hands.”

Over the last six years, the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation grant program has awarded over $472,000 to departments in need. Established in Joey’s memory in 2013, the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation holds firefighter training events that support its grant program. It also relies on the generous support of our sponsors and partners to help train and equip firefighters.

In 2005, Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, 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.

In August 2012, New York Governor Cuomo, signed into law a measure to require that New York firefighters be equipped with personal safety rope systems or emergency escape systems in the event they become trapped in an elevated structure fire.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported the Foundation and its mission to keep firefighters safe. Together we carry on Joey’s legacy and work to prevent other tragedies from occurring. We’re grateful to all of our grant partners, sponsors, and donors for their generosity,” says Chief Joe DiBernardo, Foundation President and Joey’s father.

The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation will continue to train firefighters and provide grants 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/about-the-foundation/grants.