Malibu’s first city fire liaison is retiring after nearly two years on the job. Jerry Vandermeulen was hired to help guide the city’s fire safety planning after the devastating Woolsey Fire in 2018. A previously-retired battalion chief from Ventura County, Vandermeulen started a home ignition zone program. In 2019, Vandermeulen personally conducted 126 assessments on home properties in Malibu. In 2020, he conducted 140.
The fire safety expert went part-time last summer. His resignation takes effect at the end of January, but according to Malibu Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas, he’ll stay on until a replacement is found. Dueñas indicated that will be challenging.
“It’s going to be hard to replace him. Jerry Vandermeulen has exceeded our expectations of what we had hoped for in this position,” Dueñas said. “Although he’s leaving us, we’re so grateful we had him to build the position. We wish we could keep him, but we understand his decision for wanting to go back to retirement and have more time with his family. He set the bar very high.”