Jennifer Leary

Founder and President


Philadelphia Fire Commissioner, Derrick Sawyer and Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management, Samantha Phillips

In 2006 Jennifer began her lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter by taking the entrance exam for the Philadelphia Fire Department. In May of 2006, she began working with the American Red Cross (ARC), SEPA Chapter as an Emergency Services volunteer, responding on local and national disasters and serving as a Philadelphia Disaster Action Team Captain. Building upon the experience at the ARC and upon graduating from the Philadelphia Fire Academy in 2007, she joined the Philadelphia County Animal Response Team (PCART). PCART is a division of The Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team as such, responds to large-scale disasters in Philadelphia County that affect animals. In 2010, Jen took over as the PCART Coordinator.

Her educational, professional, and volunteer experience culminated in the conception of an organization, which responds to both animals and families in need immediately following a disaster in their home. On July 25, 2011, she founded the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. Red Paw responds to fires and other residential disasters in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. In 2014, Red Paw was added to the City of Philadelphia’s Emergency Response Plan.

While working at the Philadelphia Fire Department, Jennifer was detailed to the Fire Prevention Division where she helped to implement social media platforms for the department including Facebook and Twitter. She also created and helped to design the Philadelphia Fire Departments Fire Safety App. Jennifer retired from the Philadelphia Fire Department in 2014, where she was stationed at Engine 20 in Chinatown for 5 years, and detailed to the Fire Prevention Division for 2 years, but continues to manage their social media as a volunteer.

Jennifer was recently appointed to the Citizen’s For Fire Prevention Board as their Chair of Social Media, she also serves on the City of Philadelphia’s Animal Advisory Committee, the Southeastern PA Regional Task Force Mass Care Steering Committee, and is part of the American Red Cross, Eastern PA Chapter’s Emergency Services Leadership Committee.

In 2014, Jen was named a CNN Hero for her work with Red Paw.