By JOYELL NEVINS | Mission Times Courier
When large fires sweep through California, firefighters from across the state are dispatched to come and help. They don’t get time to pack or prep; they just go. That often means the strike team firefighters only have the bare minimum in personal supplies. FireMom, an online company based out of San Carlos and Fletcher Hills is working to change that through their Firefighter Go Bags Community Support Program.
“Finding out what they go through physically and mentally, where they may end up sleeping, and some of the hazardous effects the fire and smoke has on their bodies as they are fighting [the fire], we found out that there are several items that can make the process a whole lot more tolerable,” said Cindy Cornett.
Cornett and her daughter Tara are the founders of FireMom. The website offers gear and gifts for firefighters and their families, from hearty red mugs to special cleaning wipes. The Cornetts are also forming a community of support and encouragement for firefighter families and friends.
“It’s important to us to be impacting our firefighters in a positive way,” Cindy said. “We also felt it was important to have a way to support the firefighters who end up saving our homes and businesses, and protecting our loved ones year after year.”
One of FireMom’s most popular and unique offerings is their Go Bags. Cindy’s son Mike is a firefighter, and has worked with both the city of San Diego and CalFire.
He has been a part of those groups called out to fight fires for days at a time. Cindy and Tara noticed that many small but helpful toiletry and energy items were already being donated by community members to the teams — but there was a snag in distribution.
“We found that when items are donated individually, while generous and extremely helpful, the fire stations and firefighters are still having to piecemeal these items together. Often, they have too much of one thing and not enough of another,” Tara said.
So the women designed a “Go Bag,” a small personal bag filled with health, hygiene and nutritional items specific to firefighters’ needs. When a large fire hits, the bags are delivered directly to the fire station or base camp.
“Our goal is to make sure these complete kits get in the hands of the firefighters who need them when they need them,” Tara explained. “They’re preassembled and ready to go, and when a fire happens, we get the bags directly to where they’re needed.”
So what’s in a Go Bag? The decision came from many discussions between the Cornett family and people who were directly in the flames.
“We talked with firefighters who have years of experience fighting wildfires, and asked them to tell us all of the things they need when they’re assigned to a fire for days at a time,” Cindy said.
The Cornetts admitted some of the requested items were unexpected — like diaper rash cream!
“We were surprised because you don’t typically think of diaper rash cream as being something a young man or woman who’s in good shape and good health would use,” Tara said.
They learned that the kiddie cream is actually a perfect ointment to help relieve the sting and chafing that can come from wearing the fire gear in intense heat. The Go Bags also include Gold Bond Powder, Carmex lip balm, Visine eye drops, cough drops, sunscreens, bug repellent, and even tooth wipes for when resources are scarce.
The Cornetts added some non-perishable favorite snacks too, such as Kind Bars, Liquid IV, or Zipfizz.
From city to whole country
The Cornett’s vision for the Go Bags is to go statewide, and then nationwide. But they are starting distribution right here in San Diego.
“We think it’s important to the community that the Go Bags support the firefighters who directly care for them and their families every day, so we started in San Diego to support our local firefighters first,” Tara declared.
To support firefighters and purchase a Go Bag yourself, visit FireMom.com. You can also follow @FireMom_us on Instagram.