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NFPA Donates 500 Comfort Bears to Orange and Seminole County Fire Departments

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July 10, 2024 | FLORIDA DOREEN OVERSTREET, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Orlando, Fla. (July 8, 2024) – The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) recently hosted its 127th annual conference and expo at the Orange County Convention Center. As part of a community outreach partnership, NFPA donated 500 comfort bears to the Orange County Fire Rescue Department and the Seminole County Fire Department with the goal of supporting the local Central Florida community.

NFPA officials delivered the plush stuffed animals at a joint event held at Orange County Fire Rescue Department Station 54. The donation has a retail value of $10,000. The bears were stuffed at the convention by conference attendees. 

Comfort bears help sooth traumatized children during a catastrophe, enabling first responders to focus on removing them from danger, as well as after the incident. They are also instrumental when tending to older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia, providing a sense of comfort and hope during critical situations. Last year, Orange County Fire Rescue and Seminole County Fire Department responded to 115,000 and 50,515 emergency calls, respectively, and transported a total of 106,000 patients to local hospitals. 

“As first responders, many of us have kids too. We have family and grandparents, and we treat patients like they are our own family,” said Lt. Dave Williams, who has served as a paramedic for 28 years. “Right now, our supply of comfort bears is almost gone, so we this donation could not have come at a better time. On behalf of all our departments, we thank NFPA for this donation.”

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