//Valdosta Fire Department hiring new Community Risk Reduction Officers

Valdosta Fire Department hiring new Community Risk Reduction Officers

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The Valdosta Fire Department is expanding its team, hiring two new Community Risk Reduction Officers. The positions are classified as a lieutenant and were added in the FY 2021 budget.

Fire Departments across the nation have seen a shift in responsibilities and capabilities as it relates to response, recovery, and prevention. The Valdosta Fire Department has stepped up to the challenge of reducing risk in the community by placing a big focus on prevention efforts. In doing this, the idea for the Community Risk Reduction Officer positions became a department goal.

The Community Risk Reduction Officers are considered a hybrid position, taking several key roles. These officers will be tasked with:

  • Assisting firefighters on the scene of a fire as an incident safety officer
  • Training with their assigned shift on fire tactics and operations
  • Assisting Fire Prevention and Fire & Life Safety Divisions with inspections and education and outreach
  • Serving as the Health & Safety Officer – tracking vaccinations, allergies and emergency contacts of firefighters

The Valdosta Fire Department studies data and fire history from the community, allowing staff to identify high-risk neighborhoods and hazards. The goal for the Community Risk Reduction Officers is to build partnerships, improve safety, and form effective strategies with limited resources.

“The way this dual role position works is that on training days these Community Risk Reduction Officers will train with shift personnel. But on duty assignment days they will shift over and help the Fire Prevention and Fire & Life Safety Divisions doing building inspections and assisting with public education,” said Brian Boutwell, Fire Chief.

Fire & Life Safety Coordinator Sherina Ferrell is excited for these two new team members and the role they will play in educating and preventing fires within the community.

“This will most definitely be a team effort. The Community Risk Reduction Officers will be on each shift, working 24 hours. They will respond to fire calls and be able to see what the common cause is, allowing us to put a targeted focus on reducing fires and educating the public with safety tips and best practices,” said Ferrell.