Sheriff's deputies will soon begin training to provide help to Madera County Fire

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The plan is to train Madera County Sheriff's deputies to act as both first responders and volunteer firefighters. (KFSN)

It takes a team to put out a fire-- but manpower is something the Madera County Fire Department has had problems with for years. But a new plan to cross train Madera County deputies could be a quick solution without burning through their budget.

"As soon as someone dials 911-- we can get the closest vehicle on scene to render aid," said Matthew Watson, Madera County Fire Battalion Chief.

The plan is to train Madera County Sheriff's deputies to act as both first responders and volunteer firefighters.

Matt Watson with the County Fire Department said the deputies would train for about 48 hours. The training would involve rendering medical aid, and fire skills.

"They'll function the same as a firefighter does on a fire engine, just they'll drive a patrol car when they get there. They'll be able to secure their gun belt, put on firefighting gear, and go to work as a Firefighter."

This comes after a proposed public safety tax, Measure l, failed to pass.

The department is understaffed and they are now housing some fire trucks at the Sheriff's Office after one of their stations closed.

Madera County Supervisor, Brett Frazier, said since then they have been looking for ways to maintain the public safety with the dollars they have.

"I'm not put on that board to say we're broke and we can't do it, we're there to figure out how we can best put people in the places we need them to be and utilize tax dollars to get safety that they need."

Watson said the medical and fire equipment for the deputies would cost about $6,000 to $7,000 and has already been approved in the county's budget for this year.

The sheriff's department will also get automatic external defibrillators in their newer vehicles.

"It just seemed like a natural progression to train to a higher level of first aid provision," said Jay Varney, Madera Co. Sheriff.

Fire officials said the deputies will hopefully start medical training in the fall, and then start fire training in January.

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