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Thread: Training accident... 16 year old "junior firefighter" criticallly injured.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The dfference is LIABILITY! Assuming it is legal you can teach your kids anything you want to teach them, from lighting a fire with diesel fuel to climbing a ladder to operating power tools to shooting fire arms. If you injure or kill your kid in those endeavors it is no one's fault but your own and you have no one to go after in a lawsuit. If a fire department runs a youth program and injures or kills someone they are liable and most likely will lose their *****.

    To me the issue is more who wants to use kids for firefighters and who wants to do the safe and proper educational exposure to the fire service youth program.


    I appreciate this post a lot because I think many on here don't want juniors on their fire scene or training or anywhere near anything because they think they are "to young or to immature" to learn the skills necessary to become a firefighter (a good one...). Thus these juniors get labeled "kids". I wholeheartedly agree with the liability aspect of it. Its a huge issue that has to be overcome with properly run educational programs if any programs at all. But to say that you shouldn't teach a 16 year old something because he is to young is just bull****. and to say a 16 year old was lured into this totally naive and unknowing is just bogus, The only difference between this situation and one with an 18 year old is liability, the only difference between this situation and one with a 30 year old with 10 years of ff experience is liability. This situation really has nothing to do with juniors...


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    Maybe I was just immature, but at 16 through 21 or so , I had the "it cant happen to me attitude"
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Maybe I was just immature, but at 16 through 21 or so , I had the "it cant happen to me attitude"

    I think most guys do into their early 20's at least. Part of my point though, legal system aside there is very very little that an 18 year old could do with fire department skills and equipment that a 15 year old couldn't.

    Like I said, if you want them to be good fireMEN (or women), treat and train them as such, if not than expect that 18 or 19 year old to be a fireboy....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rialaigh View Post
    I appreciate this post a lot because I think many on here don't want juniors on their fire scene or training or anywhere near anything because they think they are "to young or to immature" to learn the skills necessary to become a firefighter (a good one...). Thus these juniors get labeled "kids". I wholeheartedly agree with the liability aspect of it. Its a huge issue that has to be overcome with properly run educational programs if any programs at all. But to say that you shouldn't teach a 16 year old something because he is to young is just bull****. and to say a 16 year old was lured into this totally naive and unknowing is just bogus, The only difference between this situation and one with an 18 year old is liability, the only difference between this situation and one with a 30 year old with 10 years of ff experience is liability. This situation really has nothing to do with juniors...
    The part I disagree with is the maturity level and common sense. At 18 I would have been like stoke her up lets burn baby burn, at 21 I would have been do we have hose lines in place, and now I would be saying what the hell are you doing with all that gasoline?

    With little or no life experience you don't have the background to say HOLY CRAP what the Frack are you doing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The part I disagree with is the maturity level and common sense. At 18 I would have been like stoke her up lets burn baby burn, at 21 I would have been do we have hose lines in place, and now I would be saying what the hell are you doing with all that gasoline?

    With little or no life experience you don't have the background to say HOLY CRAP what the Frack are you doing?


    I deff agree with you to some extent, but the fact is most places in the US you can fight fire at 18, and I agree at 18 the majority of guys who are looking to fight fire have a lower than needed maturity level and lack in the common sense area. IMO all the more reason to try and teach these things prior to this age.

    I taught my brother in law basic fire behavior and the behavior of diesel and burnt motor oil on fires. I taught him how heat rises and and how solid structures like walls (like walls of old desks or other furniture) repel a lot of the heat and it rises and burns holes in the "roof" of the furniture after wrapping around the sides and poking through the cracks. I taught him how to cut a good fire line around the bonfire spot we use so that we can still safely burn stuff in fairly dry conditions with a water source available. He has been lighting fires for 2 or 3 years now (always with adult supervision). He just turned 14....most kids and highschoolers will eat this stuff up, no reason to not educate them just because they are under 18.

    There are a lot of technical things to be learned in the fire service, but there is a massive amount of information that the majority of high schoolers could master quite easily with some book learning and some hands on skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rialaigh View Post
    I deff agree with you to some extent, but the fact is most places in the US you can fight fire at 18, and I agree at 18 the majority of guys who are looking to fight fire have a lower than needed maturity level and lack in the common sense area. IMO all the more reason to try and teach these things prior to this age.....

    ....most kids and highschoolers will eat this stuff up, no reason to not educate them just because they are under 18.

    There are a lot of technical things to be learned in the fire service, but there is a massive amount of information that the majority of high schoolers could master quite easily with some book learning and some hands on skills.
    I think you are misinterpreting what some of us are saying regarding this incident and juniors. I don't believe anybody is saying that juniors aren't capable of learning/doing various fire service skills or that we shouldn't be teaching it to them. We absolutely should be teaching them not only fire service skills, but also the history of the fire service in general, our department's history and the lessons learned thru experience on the fireground, especially the ones learned when someone is seriously injured or killed.

    I think you are fooling yourself if you think that a 16 year old kid with little fireground experience is going to look at a situation the same way as a 30 year old with 10 years experience. After 10 years in a small urban career department that sees a good bit of fire duty, I absolutely think about many things differently than I did as volunteer with 9 years experience transitioning to the career side.

    Some kids may have the maturity and confidence to recognize an unsafe activity like that being discussed and say "hey, that's not safe", but many others may not. Just look at how many kids have been victimized by sexual predators. The danger and warning signs may be obvious to us as adults, but not all kids may be able to "connect the dots" and reach the same conclusion and then act on them appropriately.

    Truthfully, a junior turning 18 should be considered a "fireboy" as you put it. Even with good training, unless somebody has been violating child labor laws, that kid is not going to have real fireground experience putting a lot of that training to use. We should be treating that kid very much like the way a tradesman learns their craft. After initial training, they spend a significant amount of time under the direct supervision of experienced tradesmen continuing to learn the craft and hone their skills before being "turned loose" to "work on their own". Unfortunately, many of these kids and for that matter "rookies" of all ages, literally get thrown "into the fire" and are pretty much expected to operate above their actual experience level right away, rather than having that chance to directly learn from a senior firefighter/fire officer under combat conditions and develop the needed skills and knowledge base for those conditions. Many times these people are paired up with other firefighters that don't have much more experience and sent to work on their own.

    I look back now at my first year in the fire service in a relatively small town VFD and can clearly see just how ignorant and unprepared I was for "combat conditions" even though I had been through my state's entry level training class before running calls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    I do agree with the lack of supervision aspect, curious as to your question regarding scouts. Are you alluding to the Explorer programs that FD can be involved with, or are you asking from a general curiosity?...
    My question was simply asked to point out some other peoples thoughts on 16 years olds and younger and being involved with fires. Boy Scouts of America, a respected organization, allows children under the age of 16 (much younger than 16) to be involved with live fire.....yet the fire service (with trained professionals) is not capable of handling 16 year olds and fire.


    I'm trying to grasp the irony here....my neighbor at age 52 is a Troop Leader. Did bare minimum training necessary to become one, yet can take a 10 year old and have the 10 year old build, burn, and properly extinguish a camp fire. I, with 30 years in fire service, Instructor Level II, can't take a 16 year old to that same camp fire and have them learn to put it out. Does that make sense to anyone?


    Ya, that's a pretty extreme example.....but that's what people here are stating. I find that pretty ironic.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I think you are misinterpreting what some of us are saying regarding this incident and juniors. I don't believe anybody is saying that juniors aren't capable of learning/doing various fire service skills or that we shouldn't be teaching it to them. We absolutely should be teaching them not only fire service skills, but also the history of the fire service in general, our department's history and the lessons learned thru experience on the fireground, especially the ones learned when someone is seriously injured or killed.

    Fully agree that juniors should be learning all that stuff. In fact, all firefighters need to see more training in those areas.

    I think you are fooling yourself if you think that a 16 year old kid with little fireground experience is going to look at a situation the same way as a 30 year old with 10 years experience. After 10 years in a small urban career department that sees a good bit of fire duty, I absolutely think about many things differently than I did as volunteer with 9 years experience transitioning to the career side.

    Reality is a 25-year old with little fireground experience isn't going to see things the same way as that 30 year old with 10 years worth of experience so what's your point. The fact is I have seen juniors trained to be able to perform effective size-ups and actually perform some pretty damn good risk assessments. Yes, it's all about how much you train them and how much you let them do.

    Some kids may have the maturity and confidence to recognize an unsafe activity like that being discussed and say "hey, that's not safe", but many others may not. Just look at how many kids have been victimized by sexual predators. The danger and warning signs may be obvious to us as adults, but not all kids may be able to "connect the dots" and reach the same conclusion and then act on them appropriately.

    Agree, and that is why there are juniors that we allow to do some things on the fireground, and there are others that are primarily support in nature. We all know who the juniors are that can be in the backup role on that auto fire and can go in with the second line for overhaul at a structure fire, and who can't. And it's the same way with some of our "adult" members as well.

    Truthfully, a junior turning 18 should be considered a "fireboy" as you put it. Even with good training, unless somebody has been violating child labor laws, that kid is not going to have real fireground experience putting a lot of that training to use.


    Of course that will be the case if they are not trained to activly work with fire to some extent while a junior.

    We should be treating that kid very much like the way a tradesman learns their craft. After initial training, they spend a significant amount of time under the direct supervision of experienced tradesmen continuing to learn the craft and hone their skills before being "turned loose" to "work on their own".

    And define "significant". Are we talking 10 or 20 fires which for a small rural department that runs only a few fires a year, that's almost a career. Yes, i agree that new members need to be mentored and supervised but most departments simply do not have the luxury of a long seasoning period before any new member simply has to be turned loose to operate pretty much on their own.

    Unfortunately, many of these kids and for that matter "rookies" of all ages, literally get thrown "into the fire" and are pretty much expected to operate above their actual experience level right away, rather than having that chance to directly learn from a senior firefighter/fire officer under combat conditions and develop the needed skills and knowledge base for those conditions. Many times these people are paired up with other firefighters that don't have much more experience and sent to work on their own.

    See above.

    I look back now at my first year in the fire service in a relatively small town VFD and can clearly see just how ignorant and unprepared I was for "combat conditions" even though I had been through my state's entry level training class before running calls.
    And that is where realistic live fire training comes into play. problem is for many departments the ability for that training is very limited or in some places essentially non-existant.

    And in a rural department where there are very few fires for real world experience the problem is even worse.

    Holding back a junior that demonstrates the desire to train harder than most and shows the ability to perform some limited live fire training under direct supervision isn't the way to solve the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    My question was simply asked to point out some other peoples thoughts on 16 years olds and younger and being involved with fires. Boy Scouts of America, a respected organization, allows children under the age of 16 (much younger than 16) to be involved with live fire.....yet the fire service (with trained professionals) is not capable of handling 16 year olds and fire.


    I'm trying to grasp the irony here....my neighbor at age 52 is a Troop Leader. Did bare minimum training necessary to become one, yet can take a 10 year old and have the 10 year old build, burn, and properly extinguish a camp fire. I, with 30 years in fire service, Instructor Level II, can't take a 16 year old to that same camp fire and have them learn to put it out. Does that make sense to anyone?


    Ya, that's a pretty extreme example.....but that's what people here are stating. I find that pretty ironic.

    I think this is the basic issue...we baby the **** out of people under the age of 18 than when they turn 18 we expect them to be able to attend classes, pass their tests and practicals, and come out ready to fight fire.

    Frankly if we had juniors at my department I would much rather train them to build, light, and extinguish a fire, search a room, preform RIT operations, throw ladders, use and maintain SCBA's, use a radio, and preform tasks that are physically and mentally tough. Because the alternative is trusting someone else at the fire academy to do the same job with 30 people in a class and only 2 burn days, or I could take 3-5 juniors and train them in the same amount of time how we do things. Id rather trust myself and the other firefighters at out department to train juniors to operate so that when they turn 18 they are ready, than trust someone else who does not have to put their life in the kids hands when he turns 18. I am not advocating that the kid does not need FF1, I am saying the kid will get a lot more out of a entry level FF class if he has already seen fire, worn an SCBA while crawling through smoke buildings, used a nozzle to actually extinguish a fire and deal with the smoke, bring another member of the department out a window and down a ladder...basically build the trust knowing that when the kid turns 18 and takes his class, I know when the ceiling goes in that kid is gona grab my *** and drag me out....not **** himself because the amount of fire he saw at the academy was less than 20 minutes...


    It goes back to common sense, if he looks competent, acts competent..maybe he is competent, and if he has a drive to learn. Teach him everything that he is physically and mentally capable of, don't say no because he is not 18...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rialaigh View Post
    I think this is the basic issue...we baby the **** out of people under the age of 18 than when they turn 18 we expect them to be able to attend classes, pass their tests and practicals, and come out ready to fight fire.

    Frankly if we had juniors at my department I would much rather train them to build, light, and extinguish a fire, search a room, preform RIT operations, throw ladders, use and maintain SCBA's, use a radio, and preform tasks that are physically and mentally tough. Because the alternative is trusting someone else at the fire academy to do the same job with 30 people in a class and only 2 burn days, or I could take 3-5 juniors and train them in the same amount of time how we do things. Id rather trust myself and the other firefighters at out department to train juniors to operate so that when they turn 18 they are ready, than trust someone else who does not have to put their life in the kids hands when he turns 18. I am not advocating that the kid does not need FF1, I am saying the kid will get a lot more out of a entry level FF class if he has already seen fire, worn an SCBA while crawling through smoke buildings, used a nozzle to actually extinguish a fire and deal with the smoke, bring another member of the department out a window and down a ladder...basically build the trust knowing that when the kid turns 18 and takes his class, I know when the ceiling goes in that kid is gona grab my *** and drag me out....not **** himself because the amount of fire he saw at the academy was less than 20 minutes...


    It goes back to common sense, if he looks competent, acts competent..maybe he is competent, and if he has a drive to learn. Teach him everything that he is physically and mentally capable of, don't say no because he is not 18...
    I've been reading and I think this is the best reply on this thread. Yes the young ones need to learn all of this and there are juniors/explorers out there that know more and can perform better than a lot of firefighters because of the training they did and have been receiving. We train our juniors just like we train except we do not allow nor does the State allow them to be placed into hazardous conditions, i.e. burn buildings, atop a roof ventilation training, HAZMAT training. In other words, they will train search and rescue, with simulated smoke, they will train how to extinguish a fire, but out in a field not in a burn tower and definitely no petroleum fuel all while in full SCBA and attached to the hip of a senior competent firefighter. In fact everything we do is in full SCBA except EMT training. We do all but we do hold of allowing them to put it all together until they are 18 and legally allowed to perform them together. Sometimes we must say no because it is the law and we can be held criminally liable even if nothing happens. All it takes is a State official or an upset parent and.....there you are. And then sometimes they must still wait until the Chief determines he or she is competent enough to do so.

    They can get all of the training that you said under excellent supervision but there must be guidelines. This incident is one where simple guidelines and frankly common sense were not followed.

    The two recent incidents with Juniors has gotten me to take a close look at our Junior training program. I want to make sure we are not putting undo risk on them. I do not want to make a mistake and have one of my guys suffer for the rest of his life for it.

    IMO junior programs are essential in the fire service I know many excellent firefighters that have made a career of firefighting that started out as juniors.

    People, Chiefs, Deputy/Assistant Chiefs, training officers or whoever is responsible for the Juniors, should simply use common sense to manage them. That was not done in this situation. I think this incident would have been just as bad if it would have been an 18yo or 20 yo or 30yo or 60yo new to the fire service that didn't know any better. The person that did the training should have known better and the Chief who put that person in charge should have known better.

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    No juniors were injured in this incident, although five firefighters did suffer injuries. Note that all personnel on scene were fully bunkered, if without SCBA.

    That occurred ten years ago. The whole scenario had apparently been pretty well thought out, except that they left some accellerant to "sit" for a little while so the building would go and go quick. Well, it did.

    The LA bashers and the "FF2 before you see the inside of a firehouse" crowd notwithstanding, I think most of us agree that while this incident involved a junior firefighter, that's not the key takeaway here. Supervision was lacking and/or somebody freelanced the extra fuel on the pile. As has been mentioned several times, this incident could have gone south just as easily with a seasoned firefighter as with the junior.

    Well executed junior programs have for years, and will likely continue for years to provide the fire service (particularly the volunteer side) with energetic, motivated personnel who have at least some level of fire service experience from the day they become full-fledged firefighters. That cannot be a bad thing.

    What's that old saw about the businessman who only hires people with experience?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    My question was simply asked to point out some other peoples thoughts on 16 years olds and younger and being involved with fires. Boy Scouts of America, a respected organization, allows children under the age of 16 (much younger than 16) to be involved with live fire.....yet the fire service (with trained professionals) is not capable of handling 16 year olds and fire.


    I'm trying to grasp the irony here....my neighbor at age 52 is a Troop Leader. Did bare minimum training necessary to become one, yet can take a 10 year old and have the 10 year old build, burn, and properly extinguish a camp fire. I, with 30 years in fire service, Instructor Level II, can't take a 16 year old to that same camp fire and have them learn to put it out. Does that make sense to anyone?


    Ya, that's a pretty extreme example.....but that's what people here are stating. I find that pretty ironic.
    Well first off I would argue the "trained professionals" aspect, especially in regards to this incident. Clearly any dept that thinks it is OK to use gasoline for a training fire is by no means a "trained professional".

    Secondly, a camp fire is much different than a training fire where PPE is needed. Let's be perfectly honest, a campfire does not involve 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline. A campfire does not extend several yards or acres etc, as a wildland fire does. A campfire does not involve a structure, and so forth. The fire service is not about campfires, there is a difference involved. Campfires typically don't need rigs with 1 1/2, 1 3/4, 2 1/2 inch hose etc.

    Third, the teaching of building and respecting a campfire involves the uses involved, cooking, heat, light, protection, etc. What does a training fire in the fire service teach? Signs attributed with fire events like backdraft, flashover, fire dynamics, etc so one knows how to fight it. Again a difference involved.


    There are differences involved that should be accounted for. The Explorer program (through the BSA) is not about training kids to be FFs, but instead give them a chance to experience aspects of the job to help them determine if this is something they wish to pursue. The Explorer programs have a set of rules thae are followed and in turn provides an insurance rider for participants in the program. Some of those rules are Explorers are not involved in live fire training, climb aerials, etc. If you think there is the irony, then so be it. However, the Explorers have other occupations as well from trades to police etc....yet how often are we seeing kids touted to be involved with police so they can merge right into a police force when they turn 18?

    Much can be learned from such programs and much can be learned from observing. Such programs, if managed properly, can be very beneficial for those who really are interested in becoming firefighters, but there is no reason they should be fighting fires or involved in training fires until they turn 18. The reason for 18, is because of the simple aspect of LIABILITY, they are considered a legal adult and thus considered able to make their own decisions.
    Last edited by jccrabby3084; 10-02-2012 at 10:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I think you are fooling yourself if you think that a 16 year old kid with little fireground experience is going to look at a situation the same way as a 30 year old with 10 years experience. After 10 years in a small urban career department that sees a good bit of fire duty, I absolutely think about many things differently than I did as volunteer with 9 years experience transitioning to the career side.

    Reality is a 25-year old with little fireground experience isn't going to see things the same way as that 30 year old with 10 years worth of experience so what's your point.
    My point is exactly what you just stated - age and experience level influence how a person looks at a situation. The person I was responding to appeared to believe differently.

    Truthfully, a junior turning 18 should be considered a "fireboy" as you put it. Even with good training, unless somebody has been violating child labor laws, that kid is not going to have real fireground experience putting a lot of that training to use.

    Of course that will be the case if they are not trained to activly work with fire to some extent while a junior.
    Now I realize that laws don't mean much in your little slice of this world, but most of the rest of us do actually abide by them, particularly child labor laws which specifically prohibit live fire operations for minors. That's why I said a junior turning 18 would be lacking real fireground experience unless the department was ignoring the laws regarding the use of juniors.

    We should be treating that kid very much like the way a tradesman learns their craft. After initial training, they spend a significant amount of time under the direct supervision of experienced tradesmen continuing to learn the craft and hone their skills before being "turned loose" to "work on their own".

    And define "significant". Are we talking 10 or 20 fires which for a small rural department that runs only a few fires a year, that's almost a career. Yes, i agree that new members need to be mentored and supervised but most departments simply do not have the luxury of a long seasoning period before any new member simply has to be turned loose to operate pretty much on their own.

    Unfortunately, many of these kids and for that matter "rookies" of all ages, literally get thrown "into the fire" and are pretty much expected to operate above their actual experience level right away, rather than having that chance to directly learn from a senior firefighter/fire officer under combat conditions and develop the needed skills and knowledge base for those conditions. Many times these people are paired up with other firefighters that don't have much more experience and sent to work on their own.

    See above.
    Again, it's not all about the little backwoods VFDs.

    I look back now at my first year in the fire service in a relatively small town VFD and can clearly see just how ignorant and unprepared I was for "combat conditions" even though I had been through my state's entry level training class before running calls.

    And that is where realistic live fire training comes into play. problem is for many departments the ability for that training is very limited or in some places essentially non-existant.

    And in a rural department where there are very few fires for real world experience the problem is even worse.
    No sh!!!t Sherlock, that was pretty much the point - preparedness and proficiency require repeated hands-on experience and many new FFs don't get that opportunity under a mentor's wing.

    Holding back a junior that demonstrates the desire to train harder than most and shows the ability to perform some limited live fire training under direct supervision isn't the way to solve the problem.
    True, but willfully violating child labor laws to provide that training isn't a solution either. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn.
    Last edited by FireMedic049; 10-02-2012 at 11:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rialaigh View Post
    I think this is the basic issue...we baby the **** out of people under the age of 18 than when they turn 18 we expect them to be able to attend classes, pass their tests and practicals, and come out ready to fight fire.

    Frankly if we had juniors at my department I would much rather train them to build, light, and extinguish a fire, search a room, preform RIT operations, throw ladders, use and maintain SCBA's, use a radio, and preform tasks that are physically and mentally tough. Because the alternative is trusting someone else at the fire academy to do the same job with 30 people in a class and only 2 burn days, or I could take 3-5 juniors and train them in the same amount of time how we do things. Id rather trust myself and the other firefighters at out department to train juniors to operate so that when they turn 18 they are ready, than trust someone else who does not have to put their life in the kids hands when he turns 18. I am not advocating that the kid does not need FF1, I am saying the kid will get a lot more out of a entry level FF class if he has already seen fire, worn an SCBA while crawling through smoke buildings, used a nozzle to actually extinguish a fire and deal with the smoke, bring another member of the department out a window and down a ladder...basically build the trust knowing that when the kid turns 18 and takes his class, I know when the ceiling goes in that kid is gona grab my *** and drag me out....not **** himself because the amount of fire he saw at the academy was less than 20 minutes...


    It goes back to common sense, if he looks competent, acts competent..maybe he is competent, and if he has a drive to learn. Teach him everything that he is physically and mentally capable of, don't say no because he is not 18...

    Rialaigh,
    Instead of replying to the original post you quoted me on, I followed the progression of the thread and several of the comments I would have made have been done so already. The issue with teaching kids FF through programs like Explorers or juniors is not the problem, in fact I agree with a well managed program. I will admit I put more stock into the Explorers because of the Learning for Life (BSA) behind the program as opposed to junior programs where leadership can be sketchy (as in this incident).

    There is much that can be learned through such programs to help kids make the decision if FF is something they wish to pursue, and much that can be learned prior to becoming a certified and reglar FF. The aspect of waiting until 18 isn't the issue to teach FF to folks, but there is no reason to expose kids in live fire training or involve them in incidents until they are 18 and actual FFs.

    Sure maturity level and so forth is there and different for many, but then again one can't legally vote until they are 18, despite maturity and knowledge exposed. Same thing with FF, there is much that one can learn and prepare to be a FF, but doesn't need to be exposed to dangerous conditions until they are legally recognized as an adult to make those decisions.

    Fyred up said it and it is true, the LIABILITY aspect is a significant factor. It is not the job of a FD to train children to become future FFs, it is the role of the FD to prepare and ensure regular members are meeting current training standards and are ready and able to resond to actual emergencies. Children can wait until they are 18 to act in such a manner as well. Another aspect is there are plenty of compentent FFs who got their start as an adult without the benefit of a junior type of program. This is because those depts take a valued stock in ensuring those members are trained and able to do the job.

    Another consideration along with liability is the insurance aspect of things as well as legal. As this incident also exposes is the potential violation of child labor laws, there is a potential work comp, or denial of such with this incident, etc......quite frankly such kids are not considered employees with such programs. Explorer programs at least involve an insurance rider with each Explorer, where junior programs may end up relying upon the dept.......which a dept that insures such programs may see stipulations from an insurer, much like the BSA does. So it isn't some "coddling" aspect you originally made things out to be or even not allowing kids learn to be adults, but an insurance and cost aspect behind things as well.

    Sure a teenager can take driver's ed and drive a vehicle younger than 18. However, look at the insurance rates of such drivers and the impact of a teenage driver on the family's auto policy. As the driver ages and with a good record, their rate decreases. Yet, realistically how many fire dept insurance aspects are set up similarly? Most likely none, and hence the aspect of waiting to be a legal adult to be involved in FF. It has less to do with coddling or fear of training such kids, but a financial aspect and stipulations imposed.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    jccrabby3084, no argument from me on the "professionalism" involved with this incident.

    As for training, this incident did not involve acres of wildland, did not involve any structures, and definitely should not have involved any gas. With the (should have been) obvious non-use of gas, this could have been a very good training opportunity for a junior. It wasn't, no doubt.

    But to say the fire service is not capable of handling such training, with all of our knowledge and experience....boggles my mind.


    Almost annually, we do a bonfire for the local school. Dry wood pallets stacked about 4 feet high. Middle of an open field. State says I'm not allowed (so we don't) but it could be a good opportunity for a junior to handle a line, see the effect their stream has on a fire, move the line around, etc. It's simply a lost opportunity.

    Good discussion here folks....
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    But to say the fire service is not capable of handling such training, with all of our knowledge and experience....boggles my mind.
    I don't think he's trying to say the fire service as a whole is incapable, but rather that there are some within the fire service that are. Probably a one rotten apple spoils the bushel type thing.

    Almost annually, we do a bonfire for the local school. Dry wood pallets stacked about 4 feet high. Middle of an open field. State says I'm not allowed (so we don't) but it could be a good opportunity for a junior to handle a line, see the effect their stream has on a fire, move the line around, etc. It's simply a lost opportunity.

    Good discussion here folks....
    Just a devil's advocate kind of thing.......

    Would you allow a junior to drive your fire engine to that bonfire? One could easily argue that not doing so is simply another lost training opportunity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post

    Just a devil's advocate kind of thing.......

    Would you allow a junior to drive your fire engine to that bonfire? One could easily argue that not doing so is simply another lost training opportunity.
    I think a more appropriate comparison would be letting a junior drive a golf cart to the fire. If being near a bonfire is that hazardous, then it's a wonder that the weenie roasts of my childhood never roasted MY weenie.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    I think a more appropriate comparison would be letting a junior drive a golf cart to the fire. If being near a bonfire is that hazardous, then it's a wonder that the weenie roasts of my childhood never roasted MY weenie.
    I think you missed the point I was making. It wasn't about the "danger" of each activity.

    The point was that state regulation prevented his juniors from doing something at those bonfires that he perceived as a "training opportunity" that would provide future benefit as a "regular" member. The same thing could be argued regarding allowing a junior to drive the fire engine to the bonfire. Some time behind the wheel going to a detail like this is pretty commonly used for members as part of their training to become a driver in the FD. It can easily be argued that having the junior drive the fire engine to the bonfire is a "training opportunity" that would provide future benefit as a "regular" member.

    In the vast majority of departments, the notion of letting a junior do this wouldn't even be considered even if they were capable of doing so. In large part, this would be due to either internal rules or their insurance policy's rules regarding the minimum age required to operate the fire apparatus - typically 18 or 21.

    There's absolutely benefit to having some hands on nozzle time with real fire. There's also benefit to having some hands on time driving fire apparatus. So, why would it be acceptable to make the junior wait until a designated age to start to operate fire apparatus, but not be acceptable to make the junior wait until 18 to do live fire training?

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    One might not let a junior drive apparatus over the road, but it not beyond possible that an otherwise properly licensed junior might be allowed to move an apparatus under controlled circumstances, and with supervision.

    My son could run our old pumper at the age of 12. Better than some of the adults. Would I have put him there during a working fire? No way - his confidence wasn't there yet. But he had the ability. Now - 22 years later - he routinely drives a quint for his career FD.

    As I said before, allowing a junior some nozzle time under controlled circumstances - with appropriate supervision and back-up - shouldn't be an issue. Helping keep an eye on an isolated brush pile would seem to fit the bill, until someone decides to help things along with a couple of gallons of gasoline.

    Assuming that the junior organization has some form of progression, this type of thing becomes a privilege of the "senior" junior members - something the younger members can aspire to. It's not an everyday thing. It's not interior work, or roof work, or any other IDLH operation. It's really no different than standing in your back yard, keeping your little brush pile fire under control with a garden hose - something most of us wouldn't hesitate to let our teen do.

    I do believe that this incident was going to happen whether or not the juniors were involved. It's unfortunate that a junior was involved, but it should serve as a wake-up call to firefighters of all ages that there are correct, and incorrect, ways to do things.

    And I think that FD should hold a pancake breakfast to buy the chief a shirt with sleeves...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    One might not let a junior drive apparatus over the road, but it not beyond possible that an otherwise properly licensed junior might be allowed to move an apparatus under controlled circumstances, and with supervision.

    My son could run our old pumper at the age of 12. Better than some of the adults. Would I have put him there during a working fire? No way - his confidence wasn't there yet. But he had the ability. Now - 22 years later - he routinely drives a quint for his career FD.

    As I said before, allowing a junior some nozzle time under controlled circumstances - with appropriate supervision and back-up - shouldn't be an issue. Helping keep an eye on an isolated brush pile would seem to fit the bill
    What constitutes "properly licensed"? I know there standards in some states requiring a CDL to operate a fire rig, some require a driver/operator certification and so forth. Yet, I don't really see such a junior being as properly licensed to move a fire apparatus. Quite frankly I see no benefit of allowing a kid to do so either. Again, we aren't talking about someone's own kid and how they choose to teach them to grow up, such programs should be looking at the aspect of any kid and these such "controlled" opportunities don't always exist. I can point to a LODD in a nearby dept with the backing of a apparatus. It wasn't a junior driving, but the fact that there are incidents out there that tend to trump all these so called "controlled" opportunities.

    Allowing nozzle time under controlled circumstances is another issue that can be construed. There is absolutely nothing stopping juniors or Explorers from getting behind a nozzle and getting some time in a controlled environment without having the fire factor involved. There is much that can be done and can be learned without subjecting children to live fire to get the point across in such "opportunities".

    There are laws and stipulations in place for reasons. These are also kids, let them be kids as well. There is no reason to be "fast tracking" them into the realm of the fire service. Those who choose to become an active member will get their training fix when they reach the age of 18 and get their certs. Such programs will most definately benefit their progress for such certs, but there is no reason that they need to be exposed to live fire training opportunities or even moving and driving apparatus.

    Although I would agree these events would most likely still occur with this incident if a kid wasn't involved. The fact that a kid was involved does further highlight the importance of knowing child labor laws, knowing the regulations and stipulations and so forth. Because as we also see, there are those advocating exposing kids to fire circumstances under the guise of "controlled opportunities"....yet what if something does go wrong? What are you going to say when such questions are asked? That you saw this as a controlled opportunity?
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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