I am a newbie (so to speak) and am wanting to see what it would take to start an explorer program at our Vol. dept. I attend all the training I can. However am not a training officer. WE do not have an actual training officer in my dept. WE rely on state ran schools for all training. Our #'s have gone in the toilet. Now before the rest of you say " no kidding ours also" WE are lucky to get 3 ppl to show up for a major house fire. If not for mutial aid we woud be up the creek without a paddle. I am wantint to try and intro some young ppl to it and hopefully plant the seeds for a better tommmorow. Any input of advice you have would be great. Were you an explorer? Were you a trainer of explorers? Or did you jsut have to put up with them? Any god or bad things I should know about? Please fell free to add anything. I would like to draw from the 1000's of years exp.from the ppl on here. Together we stand Divided we fall. I do not know how much longer our dept can hold on and remain an active FD with the #'s we are posting. I do not want to see this community to loose there fire protection. Thanks
If you want to start an Offcial "Explorer" Program then that is done through the Boy Scouts of America and must be linked to a Den.
You can however check with you State regulating body and find out what members under 18 can do and what they can not do. Here in Va you could join the dept at 14 if you had a family member in. You could Join at 15 if you were on your own. You could ride @ 16 with firefighter 1.
Recruitment is simple go out to the Schools and advertise. Do an extrication demo for prom nite, or anything else you can think of.
When you get them in explain up front that this is alot of work and no matter what this is a life and death job that requires training, dedication, and accountability.
It will take alot of hard work and patience but if you really wanna do it it can be done.
Back in the mid to late 70's my department started a youth cadet program. To be a part of the program you have to have an interest in the fire service (we are not a day care) and have completed the 6th grade (that puts them around 12 or so). They have their own weekly trainings and are welcome to attend the regular members (we are a volunteer department) weekly training depending on the topic of the night. They have their own SOPs/SOGs, uniform, and their own "senior cadet" or "cadet lieutenant" depending on the year. The cadets report to the senior or lieutenant, and they report to cadet advisers who are members of the department.
Their trainings are as varied as they want, usually members of the department volunteer to come and teach something we specialize in (like for me investigations and explosives) or help the advisers with trainings. A lot of the time they do the same thing that the members do, just not as in depth or not as hardcore as we do. As for what they can do on a fireground, about nothing. All of the cadets are trained in how to use the cascade system so in that respect they are invaluable because they can fill our bottles for us while we are in rehab. Once we are clear of the IDLH atmosphere we have been known to use the cadets to assist with salvage and overhaul cuz who gets into the fire service and doesn't like to break stuff right :).