MOUNTAIN AREA — Cal Fire is recruiting for their Volunteers In Prevention (VIP) program, made up of citizens who offer their time and unique skills to serve the public through education, communication, patrols and defensible space inspections.
Each year more than 5,600 wildfires burn over 172,000 acres of California’s watershed, timber, and grasslands. As a result, millions of dollars in damage are done to the environment, homes are destroyed, and lives are threatened and sometimes lost.
With 95 percent of the wildland fires to which Cal Fire responds each year being person-caused, fire prevention and public life safety education are key to reducing losses from fires in California.
In 1980, Cal Fire conceived and developed a fire prevention volunteer program called “Volunteers In Prevention.” Citizen volunteers have been staffing and operating many aspects of Cal Fire’s fire prevention program ever since.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU) is accepting applications from individuals interested in becoming involved in the VIP program.
As a VIP you will have the opportunity to serve your community through Fire and Life Safety Education, Public Information Education, Red Flag, Holiday and Arson Patrols and Defensible Space Inspections.
All you need is the willingness to give your time, a desire to learn fire prevention fundamentals, and an interest in educating Californians of all ages. You will work under the direction of the VIP coordinator who will match your interests with the needs of the program. For example, if you have teaching skills, school programs may be perfect for you. If you are a HAM or CB radio operator, communications may be your niche. Either way you will be taught the information you need. And, although you are volunteering your time, there will, under certain circumstances, be some reimbursement for your travel and meal expenses.
Anyone interested is invited to contact Fire Prevention Specialist for Cal Fire MMU, Jaime Williams (details below). You will need to fill out a volunteer service agreement, emergency contact form, vehicle registration form, and a parental consent form if you are a minor. There is no mandatory number of hours you will need to volunteer, but your VIP coordinator will be counting on your efforts.
When working as a VIP you will wear a VIP uniform. A VIP logo will be visible, as well as an authorized VIP identification card. Any citizen performing voluntary fire prevention duties under the supervision of a Cal Fire officer, will be covered under workers’ compensation insurance.
If you are interested please contact:
Fire Prevention Specialist II
CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit
(209) 966-3622 ext. 228
For more information about the VIP program please visit the website at www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/VIP.pdf