Not that this question hasn't come up a time or two... what the heck, here goes:
My department does not have a FFJR program per se, but instead an explorer post that has a fire engine assigned to them which allows them to do their own hose drills and other training evolutions, things typically done in fire academies and for engine company quarterly training when you have a recruit firefighter.
With that said, and again, not to beat a dead horse again... there are issues when having someone under the age of 18 actually within what is called a IDLH atmosphere, which stands for immediately dangerous to life and health.
There is no question that FFJR's can be incredibly helpful at a fire incident. The practice of using FFJR's to augment firefighting personnel seems to be the norm in many areas. Moving hose, carrying ladders, all the physical things that need to be done can certainly be done by folks under the age of 18 without incident. However, there is a risk that you are taking on that I want you to be familiar with before doing anything. Remember, it's your life and health at risk here. I share the following to give you a "Big Picture" awareness and education regarding potential exposure issues and how it could affect you and your future.
If you have a free burning fire that is self-venting, then chances are pretty good that all the nasty things that I want you to be familiar with shouldn't be an issue. Here's an example of what I am talking about:
These incidents can present a lot of hidden hazards that require more than just a casual familiarity with how to use a hose and nozzle. Recent incidents involving FFJR's involved some degree of injury due to adults allowing FFJR's to go way past what many feel should be the scope of practice or what FFJR's can or cannot do. Placing a FFJR into a situation that goes wrong... just think about who gets to call the insurance company and your parents... It's messy if things don't go as planned, not that that ever happens... :D
So now, you have a fire that has been pretty much knocked down... There's a lot of salvage and overhaul that has to be done right? Below is a photo that has something missing. Can anyone catch it? What's cool about this photo is that you can clearly see smoke, which is what you don't want to be in if you can help it... I'll get back to that after a couple of questions get answered... no sense rushing into this... there's so much to learn. Interested?
But here's the killer environment (below photo) that is so very dangerous... Can you guess why?
Hmmmmm LETS SEE CBz.... we have carcinogens , trip and fall hazards, possibly toxic environment, puncture and cut hazards, destruction of evidence by inexperienced overhaul, electrical hazards , structural integrity, just to mention a few, definitely not the playground.
When I was an explorer for house duties we did everything. If you were riding during a tour you did it all.
During calls it depended on the situation.
Car accidents you stayed at least 25 feet from the vehicles and set up all the tools and everything the ambulance crew would need and then you assisted the emt basic, intermediate or paramedic with taking vital signs, and doing assesments since we were all required to be first responder certified before we could ride the apparatus.
House fires: Stayed out of the collapse zone unless throwing ladders or salting and sanding during the winter, taged hydrants, changed bottles and with the post we had our own air trailer to fill bottles at long incidents and set up rehab and assisted EMS personel.
Everything else it depended on the call but under no circumstances were we ever allowed in a building that was a question of or had been under fire conditions. So with automatic alarms we stagged with the apparatus or at the fire alarm panel.
It was alot of what some people call the B**** work of the department. Setting up tools, getting equipment and lots of observation.