We are a small rural fire company with 5 truly active junior FFs. I am the Senior Advisor I guess you could say. I started with ropes and the basic 4 knots as they average 12 to 14 in age.  Have to keep them motivated and alert if you know what I mean. They are all doing awesome and even members have noticed some huge differences. But have to keep it going so willing and open ears .



Feel free to email !!

Thanks everyone!!


Rodney Recore

Barker Fire Department


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what about doing some hose relays were they have to connect the hose to the truck and hydrent but do not charge it just to see how fast they can do it. not to sure what they are able to do do just kind of guessing at this point.

As a former Explorer Advisor I can give a few ideas.

Do a bunch of drills with their PPE, make it interesting.  I did the "Midnight Alarm" drill with them a lot where they see how fast they can don all of their gear and get into position on the truck.  Then I did drills with them where they were in full PPE including gloves, and had to pick up tools, use tools, tighten air mask straps, take air mask off and back on again, to get them used to doing things with gear on.

Then there is the air pack...give them "Air Pack 101", top to bottom soup to nuts, all about the air packs your dept uses; how much air they hold, emergency breathing, by-pass valve, regulators, rescue breathing, reduced profile...

A good one to do on rainy, cold, snowy drill nights is to take them into the truck room and play "Firefighter Scavenger Hunt".  Have two teams, one from each team steps forward and you shout out a tool...they have to find the tool, bring it to you and mention one use for it.  I did this and had patches for them as prizes or something cheap like candy or points towards a pizza party or something.  They LOVED that one.

If you have extrication drills with your department let the explorers be patients.  They learn what its like for the patients and how being gentle with the tools helps prevent the bumping and jarring of the car furthering the injuries.  And they have a front row seat to see what tactics are used for different situations.

The more knowledge you can get into them now, the easier they will learn all of the stuff in Firefighter 1 and the more confident they will be.

We also do ladder drills, they carry the ladder as a team, set it up, take it down, and learn leg locks (only about 8-10 rungs up.)

great thanks for the reply!! with only 3 to 5 on any given good drill night it is very frustrating at times. But they have been improving as time progresses.



Ideas sound awesome!!  With such a small group training is a frustrating but many times rewarding venture. We have all been there and helps to have as we say other eyes and ears to give assistance .  Again thanks and cant wait to use them!!



As a former explorer LT and now fire recruit with a rural fire district i find it easy now to go through academy. I would suggest teaching them about fire behavior and building construction. How to run your guys maco machine or cascade system. Also how to take hydrants, and run some drills with taking them with a actural rig.

We use the IFSTA Orientation and Terminoloigy text for our Explorers.  This is spot on for any person wanting to understand the fire service.  We incorperate hands on training/field trips/guest speakers with the respective chapters. IFSTA also has powerpoints to go with each chapter.  Example:  When we cover the alarms and communications chapter we visit the dispatch center.  I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this text and see if it isn't a great fit for your program. 

my department where I am an explorer now, we will be doing cpr training with AED. Next month we have a training at another department inside the county where we will do obstacles and a S&R training/practice and some work with airpaks/SCBA gear. We only have about 7-10 people depending on who shows up so its actually a lot easier.

When we as cadets (explorers) do training, my FTO likes to mix it up and keep us interested. Although we generally have a rough time getting all 6 of the cadets at the station at once, we usually can do some stuff regardless of who we have there. We do anything from going over the trucks and learning where stuff is and its use, to turn out drills, to USAR type stuff. Now, on a fire ground we couldn't actually do an interior search, but it's fun and it builds self confidence and comradery between all of the firefighters and the cadets. It brings people closer, and lets everyone examine others' strengths and weaknesses. We'll do a full turn out (with or without packs, depending) and put our nomex over our face/ mask. We have to crawl around, under, over, between and through things, practicing donning our packs etc. while we can't see, to find a "downed firefighter" or something similar to that. One of the things my FTO (Mikey) likes to do, is wait until we are in the bathroom, or eating, or something like that, then yell "Fire!" to see how fast we can turn out and be in the truck. It's fun... sometimes. Either way, it helps us get faster and more comfortable with our gear. Other than that, we do a lot of EMS scenarios  For example: you get dispatched to 1234 Main St. for a fallen subject that is unconscious. U/A you find a middle-aged male, not conscious who fell from a small ladder. What should your first concern be? We would all put in our thoughts, like spinal injury, airway/ breathing etc., and we would discuss why we said that stuff. It is pretty fun, and it definitely gets everyone to think better and quicker.

I forgot the hydrant drills too, Kedrick brings up a great point.  Have them hit the hydrants and make the connections, practice all types of hose lays with them including forward and reverse lay.

We did nozzle drills too, the different types and styles and how much PSI is needed to work effectively, how to advance safely, how to hydraulicly ventilate, the "bounce" technique, and hose adapters and tools.

We used the departments smoke machine a lot as well.  Sometimes we would bring them to the training building for their meeting, while they were having their business meeting we would run the smoke machine, by the time the meeting was done it was fully charged with smoke and ready for a search drill.  We even used a heat lamp for realistic feel as they crawled past it.


Sorry if I'm late and you aren't looking for ideas anymore. But at my post we do the Denver Drill, as an explorer who was a part of the class, it's a great experience and I learned a lot.

Get on here or youtube and find videos of apparatus responding to calls taken from the cab. Put a sheet up on the door in front of the apparatus you decide for the drill to use as a movie screen. Use a ppt projector to project it life size onto the sheet. Put your juniors in seats takimg turns in the officer seat. Have them each do size ups on the scene in front of them. The ones in the back seats jump off the truck and grab a tool that they would use on that scene, name it, describe why theyicked that tool, what it is used for amd why they would use it. If they cant do that, have them research the tool as homework until your next , meeting.  Record the sizeups. Hotwash after they are over with how to improve.

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