Volunteer-In-Prevention [VIP] Program
Madera, Mariposa, Merced Ranger Unit

Welcome to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Volunteer-in-Prevention [VIP] Program. As a Volunteer-in-Prevention volunteer, you will provide a valuable service to CDF and the residents of your community.

The Department Mission

As authorized by the Public Resources, Health and Safety, and Government Codes of California, the mission of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is to protect and enhance the range, forest and watershed resources in the state in order to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits derived from these resources. The Department will provide comprehensive fire protection and other related emergency services, including protection of life and property, in state responsibility areas. The Department will maintain cooperative fire protection contacts and agreements where there are economic and social benefits to the people of the state. The Department will ensure that the range, forest and watershed resources are maintained and enhanced, balancing economic, environmental and social benefits.

The Volunteer-In-Prevention [VIP] Program

On July 1, 1980, CDF formally implemented and funded the Volunteer-in-Prevention Program. The program is designed to improve individual citizens and public groups to reduce the occurrence of wildland fires caused by children playing with fire, equipment use, debris burning and arson.

Some of the activities you may choose to be involved in include:

  • Fire Prevention Education Programs in elementary and preschools.
  • Wearing the Smokey Bear costume for programs and special appearances.
  • Staffing fair displays and exhibits.
  • Patrol selected areas during high-fire danger.
  • Inspect rural homes for compliance with fire laws.
  • Inspect equipment, such as chain saws and lawn mowers, for spark arresters.
  • Assist CDF in an Information Center during large fires or other disasters.
  • Provide auxiliary communications and "shadows" for expanded incidents.
  • Provide office support for VIP and Fire Prevention programs.

Each Ranger Unit is different and may not have the programs listed, or they may have more. Contact your local VIP Coordinator.

How Often Might You Work

Some volunteers may log as many as 400+ hours in a year; while others may log only 2. The program is flexible to meet your schedule and interests. Talk to your VIP Coordinator to establish a schedule which meets your expectations and needs. He or she will be depending on you to communicate your expectations to match your interests with on-going activities. If you really want to be busy, keep in touch with your VIP Coordinator. There is always work to be done!

The program runs on a yearly cycle with the busiest times during the school year with fire safty programs and in the spring with public awareness programs. Except for some County Fairs, the summer season is reserved for fire related activities such as fire information, hazard patrols and auxiliary communications. Some type of activity is going on year 'round. The winter months are an excellent time to rebuild well-used displays and design and construct new ones. This is also the time to do most of our training.

There is not a minimum or maximum number of hours that you may donate. The 2 or 3 hours per year that one person may work are just as important as the 400 or 500 hours that another person may log. You set your own pace .............

Becoming a Volunteer

While a large percentage of volunteers are retired persons looking for a way to remain active, age is NOT a limiting factor in becomming a volunteer. School age children may join through a group affiliated with the school, scouts, other organizations or as a member of a family who is involved in volunteering. Our VIP's come in all shapes and sizes, and from a multitude of backgrounds. Most find the VIP program stimulating and rewarding and remain with it for many, many years.

A varity of paperwork is necessary to become a volunteer and will include the following:

  • Volunteer Service Agreement - An agreement between you and the Department outlining basic facts about the program, its policies and it conditions.
  • Oath Of Allegiance - Must be on file to receive travel reinbursement.
  • Vehicle Authorization - An authorization to use your private car on state business. You must have liability insurance and seat belts.
  • Driver Record Check - Because you are operating a vehicle on state business, we require you to maintain the same driving standards as regular employees. [You may be restricted from driving if you have a poor record.]
  • Supplemental Application - Allows the Volunteer Coordinator to know more about you and your skills and interests with projects.
  • Parental Consent - All minors must have one on file to participate in any of the activities. A parent or legal guardian may sign.

If you feel that you are interested or may want to participate in this program, feel free to contact your local CDF Station or Ranger Unit District Office for further information on the program. You can find your local phone number listed under "California, State of" in the phone book.

California -- The Flammable State, A CDF article, July 1994

CalFire Volunteer in Prevention Website

CalFire's 2016 Volunteers In Prevention Website Link.

CalFire's 2016 VIP's Information PDF.

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This page last updated on April 17, 2016.
1995 Richard Camp Consulting
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