Florida has some of the country’s highest wildfire fatalities in the nation, and some volunteer firefighters are stepping up to help.
Rick Scott announced a new statewide program Thursday aimed at encouraging residents to volunteer for wildfires.
Under the initiative, volunteers who can’t get a permit will be required to sign up for a training program that focuses on their safety.
Scott said the program, called Zooniverse, is designed to help keep residents safe and help save lives by helping them to plan, organize, and save lives.
“Zooniverse will be a unique, state-wide effort designed to provide trained and experienced firefighting resources to the communities where they live,” Scott said in a statement.
“The program will provide volunteer firefighters with the tools they need to save lives and to assist communities with their fire response needs.”
According to the Florida Department of Emergency Management, there were more than 2,200 wildfires nationwide in 2016, and in 2017 alone, there have been more than 5,200 fire-related deaths.
The program also aims to address a lack of information about the dangers posed by wildfires.
The state has been under a fire threat from blazes for years.
Scott said he plans to use the program to educate residents about the hazards of wildfires, including how to make fire-resistant gear and how to plan to avoid them.
Firefighters can sign up to participate by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling the Florida Fire Information Line at 1-800-252-5400.
A statewide registration form for the program is also available on the department’s website.