My Fire dept has a Jr. Fire Dept. and they have to live within a mile of our town. The members must be atleast 14yrs of age. Once they turn 18 and have a high school diploma they are elgible to become members of our Regular Fire dept. if they have been on for atleast two years. If they have not been on for atleast two years then they wait until they have been on for two years or until they are 21 yrs old. The Jr. Dept holds their own fund raisers, and when they move up to the regular Dept. and get voted on then Jr. dept buys them their brand new set of turnout gear. About a third of our Dept has come up through the Jr. Dept. If u have any questions or concerns check out our web site at www.greenspringsfire.com under the Jr. Dept or u can even give me a call @419-307-2272. I will be more than happy to help u get this started.
Always put the needs and safety of the cadets first.
Starting a cadet program is an investment on behalf of the fire department and the cadets. Invest in the cadets first and the fire department will see their ROI-Return On Investment later.
Before assigning them a task or involving them in any part of delivering emergency services, first and always ask yourself: Is this something that the cadet is physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for?
If it's not right for the cadet --- it's not right for the fire department.
Ok, I am officially confused.
I have NOT seen the effects "of putting a child in an adult situation that they were unprepared for." Which was why I responded as I did, sardonically. My take on what you said was that if a cadet is prepared then it is okay to put them in such a situation. My position is that no child should ever be put into such a situation, regardless of who thinks they are prepared. In other words, NO child should be acting as a firefighter. Regardless of the program or the intent.
We started an Explorer Post through the Boy Scouts of America. We don't have that many of them but the one's we have really enjoy the program.
Most of the requirments are Boy Scout but we added some ourselves...Must be at least 13 years old, if 16 years old they must have valid driver's license, be enrolled in school, have signed parental consent, can ride in apparatus only if 16 or older (insurance requirement), can only participate at emergency scenes with the direct permission & oversight of a department officer, must attend as many training's & meeting's allowed by parents & school. Parent's of the individual Explorer set the times/day that they can attend department functions.
Explorers are issued turnout gear pending it is not needed by active members. When they turn 18, if they have been an active Explorer for at least a year, they are reassigned as firefighter's without probationary period or re-applying.
We have come up with a few stuff they can and cant do, like they can go to a fire but have to stay out of the hot zone they can help hand out water, help firefighters put there SCBA on just little stuff, and donts where they cant go to wrecks. we havent come up with age requirements yet. what would the best age be where they can start in a cadet program
Again check with Learning for Life which is through the Boy Scouts of America. They are the ones which started the Explorer based programs and have great knowledge and resources on establishing such programs. The age range for an Explorer is 14 to 21, they also have established rules which specifies the issues about what an Explorer can/can't do. They also provide an insurance rider for Explorers (the annual cost for participation) which the dept doesn't have to worry about.
I hesitate to respond to this post due to the abundance of bad jr programs we all have seen lately. That said I was a jr adviser once upon a time and believed in the program if it is used properly. PLEASE if you establish a jr program train them in a safe increment . Do not allow response to a scene unsupervised and then keep them as observers at a safe distance. Most importantly form the jr s as an educational tool with strict rules of compliance. They MUST NOT be used as a firefighter auxiliary exposing them to dangers,.... they are children and must be kept safe.