Over 6,100 wildfires annually burn more than 193,000 acres of California's watershed, timber, and grasslands. As a result, millions of dollars in damage are done to the environment. Homes are destroyed; lives are threatened and sometimes lost. With 90 percent of the wildland fires the California Department of Forestry (CDF) responds to each year being person-caused, fire prevention and public life safety education are key to reducing losses from fires in California. In 1980, CDF conceived and developed a fire prevention volunteer program and entitled "Volunteers In Prevention," or VIP. Today, VIP is a registered Fire Corps program staffed and operated by citizen volunteers.

VIP Activities

  1. Fire and Life Safety Education
    History has shown that when VIP teams provide fire prevention teaching in grades K-3, child-related fires in those areas have dropped by 50 percent. In addition, VIPs educate thousands of children and their parents about fire prevention by participating in fairs, displays, and parades each year.
  2. Public Information Education
    VIPs are trained to assist CDF's efforts during wildland fires and other emergencies by providing information to the media and public.
  3. Wildland Occupant Firesafe Program
    Volunteers are trained to make preliminary wildland homeowner property inspections for fire safety as required by Public Resources Code 4291, and to discuss with homeowners ways to make their homes fire safe. These one-on-one contacts are an increasingly important education tool as the population in California's wildlands continues to grow.
  4. Red Flag, Holiday, and Arson Patrols
    Volunteers patrol selected hazardous areas during declared critical fire weather and on holidays. They help alert the general public to the possibility of heightened fire danger. They also provide CDF with extra "eyes and ears" in areas threatened by arsonists.
  5. Communications
    A specialized group of volunteers (HAM radio operators and CB radio groups) provide additional communication networks for CDF during emergencies including wildland fires, earthquakes, and floods.

For more information on CDF's Volunteers in Prevention program, please visit www.fire.ca.gov.

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