I was just wondering what types of calls you can respond to and how you are allowed to assist
In my station, juniors can only respond to structure fires, once on the scene we have to stay out of the hot zone and can only do things like working with hoses, changing scba bottles, keeping firefighters hydrated, directing traffic around the scene if necessary, getting tools, etc. you get the idea. Now i have never heard of a station allowing juniors to enter a structure fire. not sure if insurance covers juniors that are injured either. any input would be appreciated.

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I'm not sure on your state but most states require a minimum level of certified training for firefighters before they are allowed to make interior fire attack. You must be 18 to receive the certified training in my state and it's probably the case in yours. The insurance coverage is also an issue.

As a former chief and having trained several junior firefighters I'm sure you're anxious to be allowed to do more, which is great but there are a lot of good reasons why there are restrictions on junior /explorers. The things that you mentioned that you're allowed to do are very important task, (although not as exciting and rewarding as fighting fire), and a benefit to the overall outcome of the incident.

Appreciate the opportunity you have of being a part of a fire department and focus your energy on learning as much as you can during your time as a junior firefighter. Read everything about the fire service that you can get your hands on. A good place to start is the Essentials of Firefighting. If allowed in your department ask to be trained in apparatus pumping.

To answer about PPE; Unfortunately turnout gear is expensive so it's the norm to issue the good and correctly fitting stuff to those that are making fire attack. When you're old enough to be certified and fight fire your department is required by NFPA to provide you with compliant gear, which includes properly fitting gear. Here's an idea that you may be able to present to your department. Since junior firefighters are not allowed in the hot zone they don't need to wear turnouts. I recommend either yellow wildland or extrication jump suits. They offer high visibility due to yellow color plus reflective trim and they're made of nomex. Jump suits, helmet, leather work boots, leather work gloves and eye protection would be adequate protection for the jobs you will be doing. Wearing this gear will also set you apart from the firefighters working in the hot zone. In some situations the IC could see a junior in turnouts and think he/she is someone that can be assigned in the hot zone. Some departments use a certain helmet color to distinguish this.

I hope this information is helpful. Be careful and stay safe. Good advice I received early in my career and that I pass on is simply this; Know your job, not part of it but all aspects of it.
Our department is the same way. However, our county department is in the same building so they had to make sure that after AnDee was killed we were not allowed to ride on any sort of county rig. So, we are not allowed to do anything with the county at all. Only in town structure fires and gas spills
Our Junior program works basically the same way, with a couple of exceptions: One, they never, EVER direct traffic in the roadway, that would be classified as hazardous duty. (Actually, no one except members who are trained and designated as fire police really should be doing this.) Second, they assist with gathering accountability tags for the IC.

17 and 18 year olds are regarded as "restricted active" memberships and can actually assist in hose line advancement, ladder placement and monitor gun operation on the fire ground, but are restricted from operation in IDLH areas.

We take Juniors (in full PPE less SCBA) into the fire building after the fire is out, overhaul is completed and the structure well-ventilated. I like to do this, and show the youngsters where the fire started, how it spread and what things (like telephones, toys, refrigerators, etc) look like after a fire. Insurance-wise, they are covered under our insurance policy in case of injury. I believe they are also covered under the county insurance and workers' compensation but I would have to confirm that before stating it as fact.
Well, my department doesn't have an explorer program, I just went to a meeting when I moved into the district, and it was like actually joining... kinda. I don't have a pager or radio, but I do go on calls when I see another firefighter heading out. When on scene, I'm just support, like you said, unless it's an EMS call, then I am involved in it.
Ours is the same way except no juniors can direct traffic. If a junior that is 17 and has been on the department awhile and has been trained we will use them a little more.
my dept. Juniors (14-15) are only allowed to do in-house training; once your sixteen and all fire school is completed you could do everything a regular firefighter does at the station (structure fires-interior/exterior attack; which ever is needed, all MVCs, ect.) but you have to be a 'probie' for 1 year.
We started our cadet program two years ago and as Chris said below we allow our cadets to work only in non-IDLH areas. As thier studies progress we allow them to participate in training with the front line firefighters (only in house and with direct one on one supervision) this applies to our adult probie firefighters as well. Once thru their FFI/FFII classes(our cadets go thru these classes in High school) they are allowed to proceed to the emergency scene.

Again as Chris said training is the key, so get all you can!

And welcome to a wonderful career!
we do the same
My department has explorers Age (14-21)
But we never direct traffic and the chiefs dont reall worrie about us too much,Because theres normaly 1 explorer at a given scene it happends to be me. but there is always an advisor around us at all times watching out for anything. I show up for all work details and most calls but we have requlations on calls. And i happen to spend less than 3 hours at the house a week.
Our program is set up for everything
Structure Fires,MVA-Age of 16 with extrication training,Lift assistance calls-Have to be cleared by an EMS advisor.
Once you turn 18 though you can join the department and get FF1 And FF2
we do have full turnout gear but we do not go in the hotzone n i see want u mean with the ppe gear i love it and they teach us alot
unfortunately, we arent allowed to respond to calls yet =(
You will get your chance trust me it took us i think 3 years to get the whole program up and going

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