Riverside County and the Volunteer Firefighters Association continue to go round and round on what changes should be made in recruiting qualified volunteers.
Tuesday the board of supervisors tabled a vote for 60 days regarding the future of the county’s 500 member volunteer firefighter force. The core issue; Cal-Fire wants to eliminate current volunteer firefighter companies in order to start a reserve volunteer program with stricter standards. “An agency that was primarily formed to handle rural response and to help the other state and federal forces on wildfires is evolving and the volunteers have to evolve with it,” says Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster. But Benjamin Rosenbaum, an attorney hired by the Volunteer Firefighters Association believes the county’s plan is too drastic. “Instead of addressing the concerns of the county by amending the present polices, they’re talking about throwing out the baby with the bath water and getting rid of the entire volunteer system.”
The Volunteer Firefighter’s Association says its members services have saved the county an estimated $13 million over the past 2 years.