Who will Malibu trust with its fire safety? And who, in the wake of the Woolsey Fire, would even want the gig?

That man was introduced to the city on Monday night at the regular city council meeting: Jerry Vandermeulen, a retired battalion chief with the Ventura County Fire Department.

Monday was Vandermeulen’s first day on the job as the city’s new fire safety liaison.

“I’m very thrilled to be given the opportunity to work in this new position, to help to establish it, and work with all you folks—city staff—and meet all the citizens out there, all the residents, and work with them to increase and work on fire awareness,” Vandermeulen said, adding, “I had a really wonderful 35 years in fire service and it’s great that I can take what I learned in those experiences and apply them here and go ahead and improve fire safety. I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Vandermeulen, who was hired after council approved the creation of his position earlier this year, comes to the city with 35 years’ experience in firefighting, working in both Kern County and Ventura County. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational studies/vocational arts from California State University, Long Beach, and an associates degree in fire science from Oxnard College.

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