I have noticed in alot of the local fire departments bylaws and regulations along with the state standards regarding junior firefighters that alot of the things us (Firefighters) do the juniors cannot. Some of which is doing vehicle extrication, extinguishing fires, medical care, running calls, and so fourth. Theres not a whole lot juniors can do besides train at the station or take certain classes but at that matter they still cant actually help us out on the scene. In my eyes the juniors are more of an "auxiliary" support than actually a firefighter. My question is why do we even bother having junior members in the fire service when they cant do anything?
I have an answer for you on that. You ask why we have Jr. Firefighters is they are the future of your department,by training them and letting them do the things they can permit by law or by-laws etc.,they can develop in strong new members that can do all we can when they turn legal age. I will say this were I at Jr.'s can go on call's but they do tasks like rehab,taking Bottles to be filled, as ask helping to clean the up when we are done on scenes. They can roll hoses or help load them. Jr's can also help put all equipment away. they can also be runners for I.C., so don't be quick to dismiss Jr's programs they go along way to help kids who have an interest in fire fighting and also encourages them to stay out of trouble while giving back to the community.
One thing is having a possible group to draw on when they are old enough to step up and fill in as active member in the fire company after they meet all the requirements to start riding.
Give them the basic classroom room info a little hands on and practice, practice, practice and they should know what to expect when they start taking their classes to be a senior member in the dept and some could become good officers as they learn and earn their way up the ladder.
Consider the time it takes to start a off the street member the right age to be a firefighter or EMT and get them up to speed as a crew member.
We have juniors ranging in age from 15 to 17. The 15-year-old is female. I am very proud of her. Right now all they do is train. They rarely get to observe actual calls. That's their number one job...just learning the basics. By the time they are 18 they will be ready to step into a firefighter roll. It's the training officer's job to make sure they don't get bored --- or worse --- too anxious and lose focus on the goal.
In my eyes the juniors are more of an "auxiliary" support than actually a firefighter. My question is why do we even bother having junior members in the fire service when they cant do anything?
You won't get an argument from me about what juniors can not, nor should not be allowed to do. IMO a junior, explorer, cadet etc's role is to observe if lucky enough to be on a scene.
However, there is justification for such programs and are valuable if managed properly. Such programs give a teen and young adult a chance to experience a job and the aspects involved to help them determine if this really is a path they may want to pursue. They can get a good sense of the job, what it entails, what is asked, even if their sole role is to strictly observe.
Where you do see issues comes from an entitlement mentality, along with weak dept leadership, that believe juniors/explorers, etc should be allowed to operate on a scene. Along with that is the poor, weak, excuse about staffing and so forth and they need to rely on children, followed closely with the poor question of "how are they to learn the job" aspect. Those are the mindsets that give such programs a bad name.
Such programs themselves can do a lot to teach the job and give a perspective, without having to have children participate on a fireground. Frankly, that is how they should be run, kids should be kids, and the fireground is NOT the place to teach, that is reserved for the training ground, which is where juniors and explorers should be.
I truly believe that there are two many rules and regulations for all fire fighters.
Now they want the fire fighters to retire at sixty . A lot of the rules are put in
place to keep friends of the friends busy sitting behind a desk and telling fire staff
where to go all the time. Maybe it is time for us to stand up and be counted.
The State of Maryland has junior firefighters programs around the state. One dept Ocean City, Md has a program that has been going for 51 years. http://www.ocvfc.com
There is also a program that was shown at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore and will return this year for a National Junior Firefighter Program to checkout.
Our Station does have a Junior Member program that currently has 3 juniors in it. In my eyes i think they should be more involved in high school then always being at the fire hall. ive noticed their grades slip and noticed them up there way too much. One of our station rules is that you must keep a C+ average on a report card.
Well this is definately not the first post on this site, and it won't be the last. My response is the same everytime, they are not supposed to be fully certified or become a full member of the fire department. Therefore I see them as "students" of the fire service and they are supposed to be training to become a "potential" member in the future.
Now if you are using them that has its own problems. Some places use juniors and they let them operate like a full member, (probably lacking manpower) and using them to offset the lack of. Thats a different post...
Now there are two different programs, first is an "Explorer Post" that is governed by the BSA. They are not allowed to do anything dangerous, and it is a learning environment, similiar to school.
The second is a home grown "junior" program that is run in-house. This is not a chaptered Explorer Post. Each fire chief sets up his or her own rules. They are covered by the local department, (maybe?) I can't imagine that a liability insurance provider, willingly cover non-certified, minors operating at, on, or within a dangerous environment.
So long story short, the people that have Explorer Post, see the benefit of introducing a child, to the fire service, and possibly becoming interested in becoming a full member or having a career when the become old enough. My state that age is (18).