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International Fire Foundation

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International Fire Foundation
FormationDecember 28, 2023 (2023-12-28)
FounderRoy Rawalji
TypeCharitable organization
Legal status501(C)3 Charity
HeadquartersSan Diego, California
United States
ServicesDisaster relief, Disaster recovery
MethodsRebuild, Upgrade, Community Connection
President | CEO
Roy Rawalji
Dr. Kulin Tantod

David Nakatsuma

Jared Saroyan
Main organ
Board of Directors

The International Fire Foundation (IFF), also known as the International Fire Fund, is an American 501(c)3 nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, long term disaster recovery, and disaster preparedness education in the United States. There are no known US or foreign affiliates to date.

The organization offers services and development programs.[1]

History and organization[edit]


Roy Rawalji established the International Fire Foundation in San Diego, California, on December 28, 2023,[2] and was also the organization's first president. He organized a meeting on December 16th, 2023 of that year with the first elected board and officers.[3] Four members were present at the initial meeting, Rawalji and Dr. Kulin Tantod (who became the first board chair) began discuss the start of the International Fire Foundation.[4] The first local headquarters was established in 2023 to serve the local residents of San Diego County and rapidly expand to the rest of the United States affected by disaster.[4]


Rawalji founded the International Fire Foundation after learning performing an exhaustive market analysis on past and current disaster relief resources for fire victims.[5] In 2002, he began his career in the California Fire Service and became involved in the work of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He was first introduced to families and victims of fire loss in California during his 20 year career.[5]

Rawalji became President of the International Fire Foundation in 2024. The organization first opened in San Diego, where he had a pre-existing network of connections.[2][4] Rawalji and four others donated money to help create a national headquarters in central San Diego.[5] The J.D. David Nakatsuma, a close friend of Rawalji, offered advice and support as he sought to establish the non profit organization. As foremost legal authority for the county of Los Angeles, Nakatsuma joined the board of directors and signed the International Fire Foundation's original Articles of Incorporation.[5]

Origin of incorporation[edit]

The creation of the organization was realized as complex wildland incidents became more deadly and more destructive through the years; at the same time, the largest insurance carriers began to dissolve coverage in high risk areas and refuse service to new clients. This resulted in a cataclysmic increase in families and victims on the verge of homelessness or living within hazardous environments with no option for recovery.[5][6]

Leadership model[edit]

The Board of Directors, other than the initial four directors are elected at the annual meeting of membership and the board appoints the chief executive officer.[7] The Board may elect up to eight (8) directors internally, and five (5) additional directors may be voted in at the annual membership meeting; the Board[1] serves for a period of two (2) years and may be re-elected.[7] Executive officers are hired by the board and serve the remainder of their employment contracts.[7]

Notable members[edit]


  • Dr. Kulin Tantod, Board Chair; Board of Directors
  • David Nakatsuma, Board of Directors
  • Jared Saroyan, Board of Directors
  • Roy Rawalji, Founder | Chief Executive Officer
  • Joi Kruger, Vice President
  • Ravina Oja, Treasurer
  • Katherine Hartford, Secretary


As of March 2024, the International Fire Foundation retains the platinum seal of transparency from Guidestar.[8]

Disaster response capabilities[edit]

Disaster relief focuses on emergency disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, IFF provides education, resources and long term recovery solutions to address basic human needs. The core of the International Fire Foundation disaster relief is assistance to individuals and families to rebuild their community before disaster. The organization provides translation and interpretation when necessary, and maintains a database of multilingual volunteers.[5]

At the local level, IFF offices operate hybrid volunteer-staffed Emergency Response Teams and Disaster Triage Units.[5]

IFF feeds emergency workers of other agencies, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides education and information to disaster victims and helps those affected by a disaster to access other resources. It is a member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and works closely with other agencies such as Team Rubicon and Rebuilding Together for mass disaster collaboration projects.[5]

IFF works to encourage preparedness by providing important education classes on disaster preparation and readiness. Many of the local community leaders also offer free classes to the general public.[5]

Disaster Services Workforce[edit]

The Disaster Services Workforce (DSW) system enrolls volunteers from IFF local service areas into a national database of responders, classified by their ability to serve in one or more activities within groups.[5] Services include emergency displacement triage, treatment, repair and restoration ("mass care") warehousing, damage assessment, accounting, communications, public affairs, counseling and others. Responders complete training for the specific services they want to offer, first aid and CPR. [5]

National Response Framework[edit]

As a National Response Framework support agency, IFF shelters, feeds and provides other types of emergency relief to victims of disasters. IFF is a co-lead with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the mass care portion of Emergency Support Function 6.[5] IFF and FEMA share responsibility for planning and coordinating mass care services with FEMA. IFF has responsibilities for other Emergency Support Functions, such as providing safety triage and emergency mitigation/construction services.[5]

Disaster responses[edit]

2023 Hawaii Wildfires[edit]

Following the 2023 Hawaii Wildfires in early August of 2023, the IFF began a large scale disaster recovery plan (DRP). More than 150 volunteers were deployed. In partnership with the local, city and county government, the IFF provided emergency triage and education for residents to more than 127,000 requests for service on Maui.[5]

Disaster preparedness and response[edit]

IFF hosts international disaster response and preparedness programs to provide relief and development assistance to millions of people annually who suffer as a result of natural and human-made disasters.[5][9] To respond quickly and effectively, IFF has pre-positioned emergency relief supplies in three warehouses throughout the US for immediate distribution within 48 hours.[5] An Emergency Response Unit (ERU) is another method with which IFF responds to international emergencies. An ERU is made up of trained personnel and pre-packaged equipment that is crucial in responding to sudden, large-scale disasters and emergencies in remote locations. International Fire Foundation ERUs specialize in providing emergency relief supplies, mobile command centers, data and communication technology for large scale International Fire Foundation response operations.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Secretary of State". Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Secretary of State Filing". Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  3. "Secretary of State Filing, Statement of Information". Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "First Board Meeting Minutes". Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 "History". International Fire Foundation. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  6. Flavelle, Christopher; Cowan, Jill; Penn, Ivan (31 May 2023). "Insurance Carriers Pull Out of CA". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Articles of Incorporation". Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  8. "International Fire Foundation - GuideStar Profile". Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  9. "Rebuilding Communities After Disaster". International Fire Foundation. Retrieved 2024-03-04.

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