Grant Former Prisoners Who Fought Wildfires Firefighting Jobs

Target: Gavin Newsom, Governor of California

Goal: Allow people released from prison who have experience firefighting to get the EMT training needed to become firefighters.

Firefighter brigades of people currently incarcerated are instrumental in saving lives and homes during annual wildfires in California. People in prison can volunteer to fight fires and receive training, as well as a very small salary in exchange for their work. However, despite their heroics, California law bars returning citizens from EMT training needed to become firefighters.

Last year about two thousand people in prison were employed by the state of California to fight fires, yet upon release they aren’t allowed to continue this work. This exemplifies how difficult it is for those who have served time in prison to find employment after their release. Many laws prohibit people who were incarcerated from working at certain jobs, preventing them from getting back on their feet. Firefighting could be an opportunity for people formerly in prison, giving them a way to support themselves while also serving the community.

That door is closed to them by a law that prohibits people who were incarcerated from taking training to get their EMT license, which they need to become a firefighter. This rule makes no sense, as it prevents people who already have experience fighting fires from firefighting, which is a dangerous but essential job.

California needs firefighters, and many people recently released from prison have the training and need the jobs. It only makes sense that those with experience should be hired. Sign the petition below to call for the state of California to allow returning citizens to take EMT courses and licensure exams.


Dear Governor Newsom,

People in prison are heroically fighting dangerous wildfires, protecting the lives and homes of thousands of California citizens. These volunteer firefighters receive training and very low wages in exchange for the important work they are doing. However, despite significant experience and dedication to the community, returning citizens are not allowed to take EMT training to become professional firefighters after their release from prison. This law prevents returning citizens from supporting themselves in a way that protects the community.

Formerly incarcerated people who have worked as firefighters deserve the opportunity to continue working to fight wildfires so that they can lead better lives and prevent wildfire damage. I urge you to allow returning citizens to get their EMT licenses so they can protect their communities.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

One Comment

  1. Jose Espino says:

    Sure, have an ex-rapist rescue a teenage girl.

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