The Office of the State Fire Marshal recently established a statewide program to allow qualified applicants to support Cal Fire in its defensible space and home hardening assessment and education efforts, says a press release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Qualified entities include local or state government agencies, academic staff or other approved organizations who have undergone new OSFM Defensible Space Assessment Program training.
“These qualified entities, with the authorization of the Director of Cal Fire, are eligible to undergo training to conduct defensible space and home hardening assessments within the State Responsibility Area,” says the press release. Training includes educating property owners about wildfire safety improvements that may be undertaken to harden a structure and make it more resistant to wildfire and assessing whether wildfire safety improvements have been completed on or around a structure.
“This program will be a force multiplier in our efforts to assist homeowners statewide in achieving compliance with defensible space and home hardening,” stated Chief Daniel Berlant, Acting State Fire Marshal. “Defensible space, coupled with home hardening, is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Expanding our state’s efforts through the use of this program will result in a more wildfire-resilient California.”
Qualified entities that have community momentum built around defensible space are targeted for inclusion in the new program.
The California Conservation Corps (CCC) will host a training for its Corpsmembers and staff in the fall, says the press release. The CCC will start assessments on state facilities located in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones working down to Moderate Fire Hazard Severity Zones. After the assessment, CCC will conduct vegetation reduction projects around each of the state facilities, bringing them into compliance with the defensible space standards.
“The CCC looks forward to helping our communities become more fire-resilient,” stated CCC Director Bruce Saito. “Our Corpsmembers will learn skills that can lead to meaningful careers in fire prevention. And, most importantly, they’ll have the personal knowledge of how to keep their own homes and neighborhoods safer from wildfire.”
OSFM’s training program will provide consistent training for qualified assessors, who will provide non-regulatory assistance to homeowners to reduce fire risk and achieve compliance with defensible space requirements, says the press release. The training will also ensure that all defensible space and home hardening assessment and education programs undertaken by the department and by qualified parties are conducted to the same standard and use coordinated messaging, including messages at www.readyforwildfire.org.
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Upon an individual’s successful completion of the training program, the department will issue a certification of completion to the individual. Members of a local government or qualified entity, as defined in PRC 4291.5, may request the Model Defensible Space Program and Inspection Platform or the Qualified Entities Assessment Platform using the form located at forms.office.com/g/FwpYJrM20d.
To learn more about Cal Fire’s Defensible Space program, visit fire.ca.gov/dspace.