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Doorhanger program protects citizens from vacant structure fires

"Try to give citizens a little bit of power.”
Abandoned Home Fire
Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-26 02:15:36-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Trying to create a community solution to tackle a safety issue here locally.

That’s what the Bakersfield Fire Department is working to do through a new program.

“Securing the vacant structures is a very difficult task.”

In 2021, the Bakersfield Fire Department reported 117 vacant structure fires.

That’s of 452 total structure fires and about 4,000 fires in total. Battalion Chief Brian Bowman with the Bakersfield Fire Department said the number of fires has been gradually rising.

“It is something that we’ve just seen happen over the last few years and it just continues to increase little by little,” said Brian Bowman

With fires and call volumes rising about 10% to 15% per year, the department is working to reduce the impact of vacant structure fires in the community.

Through a new initiative in collaboration with the police department, code enforcement and the City of Bakersfield.

“This doorhanger program is to give the citizens the information they need to be able to contact law enforcement or ourselves. It just gives the community a little bit more of a voice, it shows them the direction in which to go to try to mitigate this, before something bad happens, before we’re responding with lights and sirens.”

BFD said they haven’t found other departments using this type of program, so are looking forward to piloting it here.

Bowman said it’s a cost-effective way to help make sure that authorities can help keep communities safer.

“Print up some door hangers, and then it’s going to be on the guys in the field. We’ll have them in all the fire engines, so when they get done with an incident, they can go to houses either side, up and down the street, throw these on the doors.”

This door hanger program is supposed to come into effect in the coming weeks after city agencies plan all the details.

“This is just our way to try to give citizens a little bit of power.”