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?

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If you can't ...operate aerials, go interior, drive rigs, operate pumps, use saws and extraction equipment among others..." then how exactly are you "full-fledged riding members?" I'm just asking.....
My fire department curently has an Explorer program. While they cannot do much, they are primarily there to learn and socially adapt to the firehouse environment.

We have had a few people come in through the Explorer program. While they cannot stretch a line or force a door, they can certainly learn how to in a controlled training environment. They may not be able to use a SCBA, but they can learn the components of the SCBA, view emergency moves (low profile, reduced profile), and learn how to change out bottles.

Sadly, although we've gotten some members through the Explorer program, I hardly see any of them at the firehouse. There is a curfew (I think it's 9PM or 10PM), so they cannot stay past the time. I think it's a great program. To top it all off, these are good kids, and it helps keep them out of trouble. I'd rather have a kid looking up firefighters and yearning to learn firefighting than sitting in an alleyway with a hypodermic needle.

As for riding in the apparatus: It's allowed in my department. As long as there is available room, they can generally come (it's up to the officer in charge). They have to stay at the rig at all times, and be supervised. Most of them are very good about it, but there are always those bad apples rolling around.
Stuart Smalley approach, Jack.
It's not so much about DOING as it is LEARNING.

Everyone who's been in the fire service for longer than a few months knows this job is a proud one. We are rooted in tradition, and proud of what we do. And we have every right to that.

Especially in the VOLUNTEER world, a junior program will give kids the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of our chosen field. It gives them a positive outlet for their energies. And I know after a rough job, I don't mind having a few rookies to clean the hoses and switch out cylinders. Of course, there must be a strong committment to supervision, and the juniors must have the mentality that they are fortunate to have an opportunity to learn alongside us.

But to answer your question, it's not just about the training. Or the extra hands back at the station. Or giving the kids a place to put forth their energies. All those things are great. But when I was a junior, the thing I learned the most about was what being a firefighter is REALLY about. Being part of a team, doing whatever it takes to get the job done, watching out for each other, and being a part of a family. I learned it takes a lot to earn the team's respect, but not a lot to lose it. And those lessons have helped me in my almost 10 years in the fire service more than any training or class I could ever take.

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
One thing is keeping on them to keep their grades up. I know of a few school systems that have a high school cadet progarm for their area. I have heard the FDNY has a high school building just for this. Its like a magnet program progarm.
There was a story about a high school that has a cadet program and the school has a pumper painted in the school's colors and the school students built the building to keep it in.
If high school students can be involved in vocational classes for different careers which could be as dangerous as firefighting. Building, electricity, automotive, and a few others offered in high school.
I went to a vocational high school and learned about commerical cooking which has its hazards.
Now I do work for my county in supply for vehicle repairs because things did work out where I worked. I never worked in McDonalds but a enterianment night club and a military officer's club. Mostly I left over hours and money.
In our department we are allowed on fire scenes to do water supply and exterior operations, but I agree we do not hold a significant purpose when it comes to fighting the fire. On scenes I am directed to medical rehab because of my EMR cert, I do think the one benefit of having them is to train them for the future, and give them an edge when they become full members, that way they know alot about trucks and how things work... this is coming directly from an explorer himself haha

at my station the only thing they cannot do is walk into a burning building, an a hoseline at a scene and all others where they wuld face danger. but if house is not burning they are aloud to go in the building help out. mostly there job is to get things for us so we dont have to make trips back and forth to the truck. they are actually a huge help

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