Juniors are a touchy subject for me (I've had some bad experiences). I do believe that they should be allowed to go on scene (under certain circumstances). For example, if there is a structure fire under no circumstance should a junior be on the first due engine or even second due, have them hold back and wait to get on a different truck, let the experienced guys who can fight fire be in the first due. Same goes with motor vehicle accidents, if there is injury, same deal, let the firefighter/EMTs get their first. As for other less serious calls, such as brush fires (not enduring structure), or vehicle fires, let them get some experience, especially with small brush fires,hell even let them get on the nozzle.
Something you have to be careful of is not letting your juniors get into a position where they think they have as much power as a captain (because it does happen). Being a junior can be a great experience for a younger person wanting to get into the field, just keep them under control and make sure they know they are a junior!
We let ours go on fire calls. All they can do is be gophers. They can get some good experiance just bieng on the fireground, and get really aqainted with the trucks and where tools are. They are not allowed to go on any car accidents what so ever. We dont believe they should be exposed to some of the graphic things we see on those calls. They are not allowed to leave school for a call, and must hold at least a C average. And their parents have a right to suspend their activity if deemed neccasary, EX: getting grounded or punished for something.
This topic has been discussed many times over and doing a quick search you can find a multitude of threads concerning juniors.
However, to save you some time, the Reader's Digest version:
On scene to be an OBSERVER only, not a participant
Pagers, no, no need for an observer to have a pager
Ride in a truck if there is room available and stay with the truck or next to command as an observer
POV...Hell no, no way.....bad enough such kids typically are very new to driving, let alone to go to a scene.
There is plenty that can be learned in a nice, safe, controlled atmosphere, there really is no reason for kids on the fireground.
And personally I could give a crap less to anyone who touts the "need" or benefits of utilizing children. There is no need to utilize children, that is unsafe, and there is absolutely nothing that will convinve me otherwise of utilizing kids on the fireground. Oh, and I am an Explorer post advisor and was an Explorer myself.........Trying to nip the inevitable conversation which will ensue in the bud.
The volunteer fire-rescue department I am a member of has many juniors. I am still a probie, so I don't have a radio yet. Most of the others have radios. If they are trained and certified,in the type of call, they can respond to the station and await a member certified EVOC to pick them and an apparatus up from the station. Most have bunker gear, but they are not allowed into the fireground unlees they have FF1 cert. and are 18. With the new contract the VFDs and the county are working on right now, juniors will probably no longer be llowed onscene unless they are trained. The juniors are not allowed to respond POV to the scene.
I am the Public Information Officer for my station.
That is my addition to the discussion.
Thanks for all the info. I am a junior myself and it sucks to see the other guys roll out. I understand the dangers that are faced not only in having a junior department, but having them on scene. We have turnout gear and are not allowed to have lights, ride the trucks, or go on scene. We are allowed to respond to the station. A big reason why we are not allowed to go on scene is because we do not have pagers. The text messages do not update. I.E. my department had a call for a vehicle fire and it was a result of a police chase, but the dept. staged 2 miles away because the suspects had assault rifles and were not under arrest. If we had gone off the text message, the juniors would be in the line of fire. The other reason is safety. Safety is a huge factor, but without being on scene, we will wont know how things operate. Then when we turn 18 and are thrown into the middle, we still dont know what is going on. Its a tough subject, Im just glad to be in the junior dept. at all.
Safety is a huge factor, but without being on scene, we will wont know how things operate. Then when we turn 18 and are thrown into the middle, we still dont know what is going on.
Nothing really tough about it. There are plenty of firefighters who started and are on this job for real who never once had experience as a junior, cadet, or explorer. The problem is, such an ideal and excuse has been used often yet, never substantialy backed up, as a reason to have children on an emergency scene. There really is a lot that can be learned in a safe, controlled environment that can deal with issues, there really is no reason to have kids on the fireground, not even to "know how things work or else they'll just be thrown in the middle".
Look at it this way, you could be a new hire to a large city and not even have any firefighter experience. The very first day on the floor, they could find themselves operating at a fire and yet, they know what to do. Is this because of experience from being on a fireground or because of the training received? It is because of the training they received.
Juniors join the FD to be exposed to the fire service and to LEARN. They are not there to replace or augment actual firefighters. The risk and the danger of having these youth on scene for anything other than ancillary duties is simply not worth it.
Alos, no junior should EVER respond on any vehicle operating red lights and siren. They are NOT emergency personnel and they can easily be transported by secondary vehicles such as crew transport vans.
We are not going to improve our image by hurting or killing the young people of our
community by having them engage in fireground activities they have no business being anywhere near.
In my dept we have Cadets and then Probies. Cadets for us is anyone 14yrs old or higher until you become 16. They learn the basics of the job, they are usually seperated from the general membership. Sometimes they train with us, usually not though. They can attend meetings and hang out but they are never allowed to ride apparatus on calls. They can do parades and such but as soon as its an emergency they cant ride. Our Probies however can ride. Probies have to be 16 years old and anyone can be a Probie. We have fire and EMS Probies, you have 3yrs to get your initial cert, either EMT or FF1. Our fire probies can ride on calls, are trained to bottle up (and they do bottle up on officers discretion), they know how to throw ladders, knots, they know tools, they know the basics of using handlines and such as well as other basic tasks. They do not go in until its been deemed to no longer be IDLH enviroment. The only reason they would need to bottle up would be humping hose at a door or chemicals or other random events, never interior attack. Ours can go on the first engine out the door but usually dont due to the presence of black shields. Since more advanced truck and rescue trainings aren't covered in the initial dept training, probies and even some black shields cannot ride those pieces unless an officers tells them to, or unless they meet the requirments to ride.
And that's well and good until that bottled up probie pushing hose at the door is caught in a flashover, or collapse, and killed. Or those chemicals he bottled up to protect against permanently injure them. I am not sure how masking up because of chemicals wouldn't be an IDLH environment, or being at the door pushing hose wouldn't be an IDLH environment. If they weren't, why wear SCBA?
Sorry, NO! There is no place for underage kids on the fireground in dangerous situations. Changing bottles, helping the MPO, retrieving equipment, helping pick up after the fire, maybe. But they have NO place at all in active firefighting operations.
As for riding out on the first out rig, or any rig responding emergency, not a freaking chance. Get out of the way and let FIREFIGHTERS get on those rigs.
To me using kids to augment staff is just plain WRONG.
Things sure have changed.
I joined at barely 16. Signed the app on Tuesday, rode the backstep on Thursday. In those days, there wasn't enough SCBA to go around, so it took a few months before I was able to mask up. When I did, I was the backup on the nozzle at a working house fire.
I didn't have a car (lived two blocks from the firehouse) so lights on POV wasn't an issue. Training was very serious at that company. We drilled every week, regardless of weather.
At 17, I actually had to drive one of the pumpers to a large involved garage fire. I got yelled at afterwards, but I was only following orders from the assistant chief over the radio. No one else would drive it and it was seriously needed at the scene.
Now that we live it a litigious environment...
As an officer on my POC FDs I do NOT want the responsibility of underaged KIDS on the emergency scene. I just can't justify placing kids in harms way.
Frankly, if you don't have enough adults to have a fire department then maybe you shouldn't have a fire department.