1. #1
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    Default Explorer/Jr FF programs as recruiting tools

    While there are certainly other benefits, both to the community and the fire department, to having Junior Firefighter or Explorer programs, are such programs an efficient way to recruit volunteer firefighters? If you are primarily interested generating potential recruits, would these programs be a good use of your time in comparison to planning and carrying out more traditional recruiting drives?

    I've got some experience in another volunteer organization with a junior component and for the most part only a small percentage of those that join as junior members move directly into becoming an adult member when they reach the right age. Most move on to college and other things and while a certain percentage re-join the program in their 30s and 40s, you can't really count on your local junior program as part of your adult recruiting campaign.

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    these days with all the economic stuff going on; and with all the social enticements offered by society - if you get one or two explorers a year that become FF's - that is an excellent program!!!

    lets' face it - these are kids and they have their entire lives ahead of them. the smart ones will follow the path of life that their interests and education leads them on.....very few will find that the trail takes them right back home for the rest of their lives.

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    So far we have gained 3 firefighters from the explorer program in the past 3 years, including myself. It is a great tool when used correctly.
    Career Firefighter
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    In the last 10 years, the vast majority of our new members have come from the Explorer post. Firefighters, EMT's, officers, chiefs. Myself included. It is the most powerful and long lasting recruitment tool there is. Get them hooked before they can even drive.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Absolutely!!!

    We have had several explorers become firefighters on our department, and have went on to become full time firefighters across the state. (10-15, including myself)

    It is an excellent recruiting tool for your department regardless if you are volunteer, part time or full time.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    My department basically wants its volunteers to be at the FF2 level which is considerably more than most volunteer departments in the state. I could easily see a junior ff or explorer making the transition to a volunteer if all they had to do was meet the minimums, but based on my other experience with youths, I'm not sure many would be willing to go all the way.

    Given that would you say that this would make it more difficult to bring junior FFs or explorers on into the department when they become of age?

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    Talking recruits

    In my post we have seven and out of the seven ALL of them are going ot be firefighters. We are a cross trained department and one explorer is a basic and FF1, another explorer is almost fully certified. Our explorer program will end in us getting our FF1 certs...(if we past the state test).

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    Our department has had a junior program since the 1970's. At least half of our total membership has come from the junior ranks and we have 70+ volunteers on our roster. Many of our juniors have gone on to work on local paid departments. Over all, less than half of all the juniors that start in the program may move up to the seniors, but the ones that you get are far more likely to stay. With the cost of PPE and training these days, I think the time spent on juniors is well worth it even if you don't count the PR for the department and the kids lives that may be helped.
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA
    kevinsink@northstate.net

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    Over the past 15+ years that our post has been in existance I would say that easily 40+ former explorers are now firefighters all across the country.

    We do some pretty serious recruiting..... now that I am stepping back to more of an advisor role, we are trying to have the current explorers take charge, and while I am sure it will be slow to start, I am confident that they will be able to recruit as many, if not more members, than my group did.
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    The Explorer Post in my town has helped us get members. We've had at least 10 explorers move on to become firefighters in the town. While not 100% of our explorers stick with it, it never hurts to have it. Members are always needed, and the explorer/junior programs are great ways to try and get some kids interested for the next generation at the firehouse.

    Also, explorers and juniors that go on to become firefighters have a head start. They have been around, and know how that company operates much better than someone who just joined and is going through the academy. Explorers and juniors have been around the firehouse, calls, drill, etc, and they know what's expected of them, and what needs to be done.

    When I went through the academy, half the students had previously been members of explorer posts or junior firefighters, and they had a much easier time in the academy than anyone else who just joined.

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