Burn Institute to hold 22nd Annual ‘Fill the Boot’ firefighter boot drive

Rancho Santa Fe Fire Station 2, one of the many fire stations with firefighters who work hard to protect local communities.
(Jon Clark)

On Thursday, June 17, local firefighters will take to the streets for the Burn Institute’s 22nd Annual “Fill the Boot for the Burn Institute” Firefighter Boot Drive. Hundreds of uniformed firefighters will be stationed at intersections across the county to collect donations for the Burn Institute’s fire and burn prevention education and burn survivor support services. This year there are expanded ways to give to ensure the safety of first responders and the community. Banners with QR codes will hang at participating fire stations throughout the month of June promoting the Firefighter Boot Drive. The banners and the signage used on June 17 will also include QR codes for a contactless payment option.

Each year, firefighters hit the streets with their boots in hand at intersections around their local community to collect donations during the morning commutes. Passing motorists help to fill those boots with their spare change -- ones, fives, twenties – even $100 bills. No matter the economy or weather, San Diegans have always given generously. This year, dedicated firefighters from 30 departments will hit the streets at over 100 intersections around the county.

Proceeds benefit the Burn Institute’s fire and burn prevention education programs and burn survivor support services such as Camp Beyond the Scars for burn-injured children. This unparalleled camp program has provided a safe place for hundreds of young burn survivors to share their experiences in a supportive and nurturing camp environment. In addition, a portion of the Boot Drive donations are used to sustain the Red Line of Courage Fund, designed to provide financial support to members of the fire service who sustain a burn injury while on duty. This unique program assists with the immediate and long-term needs that arise while local heroes are recovering from the trauma of a burn.

“The Burn Institute’s programs help bring smiles back to children, help bring light to a very dark time, help make tomorrow’s obstacles just a little easier to face and help turn burn victims into burn survivors,” said Brooke, a firefighter burn survivor.

What began two decades ago as a grassroots effort backed by the fire service, the Burn Institute’s countywide Boot Drive has become a hallmark fundraiser for the organization raising over $200,000 for Burn Institute programs and services each year.

The Burn Institute’s 22nd Annual Firefighter Boot Drive is the organization’s largest one-day fundraiser. All funds raised through the Boot Drive will stay locally in San Diego County.

If you do not catch a red light or see a firefighter on your commute, you can still donate at