Yes, to an extent. Explorers here are with the Learning for Life program and are covered by their insurance. We allow eplorers to do ride alongs, typically 8 to 12 hours. They come to the station, assist with chores etc and respond on the calls. On a call, they are strictly observers, they don't do any type of patient care, they don't do anything on a fireground, not even "gopher" tools. If they're riding a pump and it is first in on a fire, they stay on the rig until the Bat gets there and they can go sit in the Bat's car.
i should have stated VOL. companies. i know many posts in our county allow explorers to come to drills and run calls. they are obviously not allowed in the hot zone. but they are allowed to be there.
when i joined i joined as an explorer at the age of 16. I was allowed to do drills AND run fire calls. Now i am the VP of the post and a full member. Our post is small(3 people) but growing. The explorers are allowed to do drills and usually get to the hall early and help check the trucks. Im positive that these explorers know the location of more tools and equipment on these trucks than MOST of the ff's in my hall. So why not let them come to calls and get tools for the fire fighters. If they are under the insurance and dont enter the hot zone i DO NOT see a problem with it.
IF i was not allowed to run calls and only come to certian drills I KNOW for a fact that i would not have gotten to where i am today. im sure i would have not become a member.
I FEEL that an explorer post is an awesome thing and they should be able to get all the experience possiable to keep them interested!
What confuses me is that children would not be allowed (note the spelling) on a construction site (the real kind, large commercial building, equipment moving about, multiple trades) due to the hazards and risks. So what is it about the fireground that makes it safer than a construction site? Unless we should start allowing junior steelworkers on those sites.
"whats so bad about the fireground"... I don't know Robbie, why do we keep the general public off of it? So they won't get hurt? So they won't be in our way? Pretty much the same reasons juniors need to be kept off of it.
If you are not close enough to be in danger then what good do you serve? Everyone says pulling tools and hose but I think I would rather see that done as the firefighters get off the rigs and not left to the junior brigade. There are way too many things going on at an incident and assigning someone to keep an eye on the juniors is ludicrous, especially when juniors argue the point that they are there to help out because a department is under staffed. If they are understaffed from the get go then who's watching the juniors?
You (in general terms) need to understand that it is not imperative that you gain experience as a child, countless present and past paid and volunteer firefighters have become one without ever having been a junior or explorer. It simply is not a prerequisite. From what I gather in these discussions juniors strongly feel otherwise. If we yielded to the whims and desires of juniors you all would be driving at 14 and drinking at 16.
While I am in favor of teaching and training young adults about the fire service and as a career path, I do not advocate nor do I support their use on the fireground. It simply is not a place for minors to be. That is my opinion. If your department sees it differently I have to question the overall safety culture in your department.
Not being able to be on the fireground as a junior is in no way going to hamper your efforts on getting onto a paid department some day. Since as a junior you can not fight fire (nor should be be involved in extrications or any other type of call) your gained experience at the age of 18 is still going to (or should only) be academic.
Good luck in your career choice and remember, just because some adults tell you something is safe is neither a certainty nor a guaranty. It may just be a result of past luck and having always done a certain thing a certain way.
I am all for training the kids for the potential lifestyle or career.... I said "training them" (in a controlled learning environment) but I personally as an officer am not in the business for a lack of a better term here to additionally babysit. I am not even talking about fires... but auto accidents on the roadway for instance. Hey stay put... don't get hit, now in the mist of running an emergency scene I have to remember to keep checking little johnny to see if he is still following my orders, and not wandering in the roadway in shock/awe. And what is the attention span these days... pretty short especially if you are told to DO NOTHING. The fact is kids of that age at not ready for the emotional side of fire, rescue and EMS. We see some (messed up people / violence / suicides / trauma / death) that is alot of times very difficult for adults to deal with.
Sorry but if any department is targeting youth to offset manpower shortages with juniors or explorers first out have bigger internal - management and liability issues.
Like I said, I am all for the program but not in an emergency mode.
Is anyone else getting tired of seeing the same posts over and over on here. Jr.'s on the fire ground, explorer's wit hlighted pov's, and so forth. I think the overall opinion has been stated plenty on this subject(which a resounding no). Just because someone brings up the subject in a slightly different manner doesn't mean we are miracuosly going to change our minds; we will just keep repeting ourselves and what good does that really do anyone.