Structural Fire Volunteers-in-Parks

young volunteer intern at the National Mall park with his mentor.
Volunteer intern Wei-Ho Li (right) with National Capital Region structural fire manager Raul Castillo, attending a July 4th fireworks site meeting with staff from the National Mall, U.S. Park Police, and vendor representatives.

Structural Fire Program's Use of Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs)

Since 2001, the NPS Structural Fire Program has had a team of VIPs who assist the National Park Service with fire protection issues. They have worked with regions; the national office in Boise, Idaho; and at sixty NPS sites, from Katmai National Park in Alaska to Big Bend National Park in Texas and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

The most recent volunteers in the field include a retired fire protection engineer, an internationally known fire protection consultant, a college instructor teaching fire sprinkler design, and two retired fire department inspectors. Except for very large projects, these professionals can resolve the same fire protection problems that we would typically pay architects and engineers to solve. They can also diagnose and repair fire protection system equipment.

VIPs have been and continue to be a tremendous asset to the parks and to the NPS Structural Fire Program.

Among the skills and abilities associated with VIPs in the Structural Fire Program:

  • Alarm system inspection
  • Alarm system plan check
  • Alarm system problem solving
  • Bid evaluation
  • Equivalencies
  • Solving existing problems
  • Fire investigation
  • Fire pump and controller testing
  • Fire pump and controller problem solving
  • Fire inspections
  • General consulting
  • Hydraulics
  • Progress/acceptance inspections
  • Quantifying degree of risk for specific situations
  • Responding to contracting officer’s questions
  • Responding to questions from regional structural fire managers
  • Requests for information on contracted projects
  • Specification review
  • Sprinkler system inspection
  • Sprinkler system plan check
  • Sprinkler system problem solving
  • Submittal review
  • Training
  • Water supply evaluation/problem solving
  • Periodic fire alarm inspections
  • Periodic fire sprinkler inspections