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California is burning at a record high rate and has seen unprecedented damage due to the increase of the severity of fires as well as the increase in the duration of fire season. However, many are unaware that inmates have been playing a very important role in mitigating these fires while serving their prison sentences by helping alongside employed firefighters in battling these dangers.

Despite all of the training and first-hand experience, many inmates are unable to become employed firefighters because the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) will not issue them an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate, which is required for most, if not all, local county and city fire departments. According to California Fire and Rescue Training Authority, which is a fire academy that provides a certificate to verify completion of a California State Fire Marshal’s Accredited Regional Fire Academy, individuals seeking to become firefighters must have graduated from high school, be at least 18 years old, and completed EMT certification.