1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    47

    Default 16 yr old LODD in MS

    I just read the headline concerning the death of a 16 year old junior firefighter in MS. As tragic as this death is, is still raises the question of the policies within various departments/states in regards to using minors as firefighters. My department has a
    Firefighter/Explorer Post through the BSA, but we have a strict SOG that governs the activities of the explorers during training and during actual responses.

    In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the State Fire Commission has gone on record that firefighters under the age of 18 are not covered under the State Workers' Comp insurance. As I understand the legal issue, one factor that comes into play is if the firefighter is compensated in any way for his firefighting duties, and if so, falls under child labor laws that prohibit employing a minor in any sort of hazardous occupation.

    Our SOG prohibits explorers from riding on apparatus responding "lights and siren", prohibits them from any activity within an IDLH environment or in a collapse zone, directing traffic, etc. It does permit them to respond to a scene "non-emergency", to assist other firefighters with donning SCBA and changing cylinders, with assisting in rehab, assisting the incident commander, photographing the scene, etc.

    What is the policy at your department? Do you think it's too restrictive or too permissive? Have you discussed this policy with you city/district/department attorney? Are these "junior firefighters" insured?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    EastKyFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Nippa, KY
    Posts
    3,150

    Unhappy

    I'm up at the headwaters of the Big Sandy River, 350, so you and I are under similar laws.

    We allow junior members (no Explorer post yet) to participate in classroom training, fundraisers, public fire education, certain station maintenance, and the like. Right now (and I expect forever) we have no duties involving their response to the scene. Should they catch word via scanner, etc. that we have a run, they can come to the station but they may not head to the scene. It is scenarios like this tragedy in MS that are behind our reasoning.

    This young man probably had a great future in the fire service ahead of him. Such a senseless loss.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    explr985's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    the other end of all that LDH...........
    Posts
    791

    Post

    I send my sympathies to the family.
    No longer an explorer, but I didn't wanna lose my posts.

    IACOJ 2003

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    314

    Default

    Our cadet program allows cadets to respond to automatic alarms as 2nd due (only if there is room, any other firefighter there will go before a cadet) and to grass fires within district. I've always felt that letting them go to grass fires was questionable at best. Around the station, they fool around quite a bit. However, on scene they generally follow orders very well.

    Eric

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    First this is a shame.......... we have a BSA post and with the same rules as the KYChief......this is also why we dont have them respond or even be in the staion without an advisor..........again I sometimes wonder why depts allow this to happen ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    As I understand the legal issue, one factor that comes into play is if the firefighter is compensated in any way for his firefighting duties, and if so, falls under child labor laws that prohibit employing a minor in any sort of hazardous occupation

    In my area (Connecticut) 16 year olds as active (not junior) members is not uncommon. About 1/2 of the departments in my area take 16 y/o, about 1/2 require 18 y/o and at least one requires 21.-+

    Child labor laws here at least do not prohibit young firefighters, but they do restrict specific activities. The three major restrictions are use of power cutting tools, work in an IDLH environment, and working from heights (12' I think? I'm not positive on that).

    They do not restrict exterior fire operations -- anything from brush fire work to exterior hose streams. You may not climb the ladder, but you can help throw it. You can also be certified and work as an MRT or EMT before the age of 18. Traffic control is also OK.

    From a fire certification point of view, you now need to be 18 (more or less) to take FFI -- even 5, 6 years ago you could take the whole FFI and pass your test and the State would just hold the certification till you turned 18. That's not a bad thing, 'cause the reason is the State is making sure the FFI students mandatorily go through more work off ladders and in live burns than in the past. Still, the reason I say 18 more or less is there is a little wiggle room -- we have one student in a class now who got the OK to start before he turned 18 because there wouldn't be any prohibited training until after he turned 18 a month and a half into the class.

    Again, at least in my state, compensation doesn't matter. Volunteers still fall under the child labor laws, and we're specifically covered by Workmen's Compensation.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    VolFFJohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    104

    Default

    In my area we don't have restrictions on how to get to a fire that I've been told, but we do have restrictions on what we can do at the scene.

    With that said I would like to say that it saddens me to hear about Jr. Firefighters getting hurt.
    Firefighter/ EMT-Basic
    Proud Soldier in the Iowa Army National Guard
    GLT 11/25/2005

    All Gave Some
    Some Gave All
    Never Forget the Sacrifices Made

    These are my opinions and not those of my dept.

  8. #8
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    sewell nj usa
    Posts
    6

    Talking

    our jr.'s do every thing short of packing up for house fires, they run on any and every call possible, the get scba traning, and all that fun stuff.the can run fire and ems, we are sorta laxed on regs. its hard to learn when u cant do stuff.

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    112

    Default

    im from connecticut also and in my dept we have juniors which are 16-18 and explorers which are 15. the explorers can come to company functions, drill, etc but can not ride on apparatus or respond to calls. junior members have the right to ride to all calls and can do exterior attack and ops, extrication etc. juniors are not permitted to entire a structure fire or any hazardous condition. also no member in the dept are allowed to respond to the scene unless they are an officer.
    FIREFIGHTING IS ALL ABOUT ***, BUSTING OURS TO SAVE YOURS!!

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!
    Posts
    13,586

    Default

    Originally posted by ffemt1617
    our jr.'s do every thing short of packing up for house fires, they run on any and every call possible, the get scba traning, and all that fun stuff.the can run fire and ems, we are sorta laxed on regs. its hard to learn when u cant do stuff.
    They can learn the the dangerous parts of the job when they reach the legal age of consent to become full fledged firefighters and get the proper training. Right now, they can assist the firefighters in a support capacity, freeing those jakes to actually do the dangerous parts of "da job".
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 04-07-2003 at 04:21 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,703

    Default

    Most (if not all) NJ county run academies will not allow students to be under 18. Sometimes, they get snuck in as long as they will be 18 by end of class. Not a State certified FF1, then are not to participate in firefighting as far as in a IDLH zone. Exterior operations are allowed, conditions permitting.

    Condolences to the family.
    "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?

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    130

    Default

    Every person in here has just of much chance of being killed in an accident on your way to a call, as that 16 yr. old did. In fact I would say that there is more LODDS of older people than younger. Anyone could have slipped off that road. He didnt crash because he was 16. He crashed because the weather conditions were bad. That could have easily been anyone of you. How are the younger generation supposed to learn how things go on, if the stay at the station. They can either start learning at 16, or start at 18, or 21. Either way, they will be new to the fireground at one point in time. I dont think that they should be allowed to enter a burning structure, or cut the roof of a car. But certainly, I think they should be allowed to respond. While they are 16-17, they should be getting training with SCBA and Extrication Equipment. That way when they become 18, they are trained and ready to go. OTher wise, they have to be trained at 18 and wait that much extra time. Just my thoughts.

  13. #13
    Member

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    37

    Default

    It saddens me every time I hear about a LODD / firefighter death... more so when it is somebody so close to my age. I'm 17, and yes although I'm proud of my two years with my fire department... what is considered experience within my Explorer post, and experience in the department among firefighters a whole cannot even begin to be compared.

    Coming from a paid urban 24/48 department, with no volunteers whatsoever...nor any vol. depts nearby.. I'm not terribly clear on how things work in regards to Explorer/Jr. FF on volunteer departments either. However I would like to comment... at least from my point of view...

    I agree with resQengine, regardless of age.. just about everybody here would have more or less the same chance of getting killed while driving. Yes... experience and how long one has been driving comes into play, but with the father of this person in question being on the department involved. I would doubt that he would let his son who had just started driving respond to calls... even routine. Come here to Miami, and you'll see drivers of all ages who have no regard whatsoever for anyone else on the road. Its not restricted to minors under 18, and the elderly.

    KYChief350 asked about policy/SOG regarding Jr. FF/Explorers. Here, Explorers are allowed to ride shifts from 7a-9p on rescues around the county. People tend to try and ask for busier trucks... but EMT/Paramedic students get preference over us when it comes to ride time. We have the county divided in half so that our two posts (North and South) do not interfere with each other. If an Explorer is riding; they roll on any call the truck may get. Depending on the call... the officer uses his/hers discretion as to how involved the rider may get. We are not allowed to do the following; enter a working structure fire, drive fire dept vehicles, or bunker out on calls.

    I'm sure you're wondering; What is expected of us?

    Since all of the members of my post are trained at least to the First Responder level, we are expected on EMS calls to get the BP, Sa02, HR, RR, etc--basic vital signs, as well as be able to handle BLS level patient care (CPR, 02 Administration, BTLS, etc). Because we are only allowed to ride our rescue trucks (ALS Transport Ambulances), we do get exposed to, and learn many ALS procedures. On occasion, officers will let a more "experienced" Explorer help out on various ALS procedures (IV setup, EKG 4/12-Lead placement, traction splinting, etc)

    What do we do on the fireground? We aren't necessarily expected to do anything. But we are allowed to do just about anything on the exterior of a house fire. Pulling hose, packing hose, tools, fans, etc. However it is up to the officers discretion as to how much of that you can do, I've heard of some who will make an Explorer stay by the truck, or in the truck. Most though, do let them get involved to a point.

    Insurance? Explorers are covered by a LFL/BSA insurance program, I'm not too terribly clear on the specifics of it.. but it does cover injuries suffered while riding or at events provided they occured while the Explorer was doing something within their bounds. I do not know how Jr. FF/Cadet programs work, but I assume they are covered by the departments' insurance.

    Are we too restrictive or liberal? Perhaps a little bit of both; depending on how you look at it. I'm very grateful for the opportunities afforded us when we ride and drill, however we are not allowed to ride any kind of inservice supression apparatus. Out of all the Explorer posts in South Florida (Dade/Broward/Palm Beach)... curiously we stand alone in that policy. For the past two years, my advisors have been trying to change that... however its to no avail. I'm not holding my breath on that one.

    When we train suppression wise, we practice many, many different things. SCBA, ladders, rappelling, RIT/Search and Rescue, basic hose lays and hose loads, advancing hose line, various hose evolutions. We also go over medical scenarios from time to time, and my advisor will bring in guest speakers on occasion from different divisions in the dept.

    This is how we do things, and its how things have been done in my post for awhile. I the post was created in the end of the 70's.. the exact year escapes me for some reason. I'm not too keen on the precise legal aspects that would deal with Jr. FF/Explorers, but I think all posts around the US are careful not to overstep their bounds.

    The purpose of Exploring is to expose young people to a career path, as well as to help people mature and become more responsible. I think the both of the latter have held true for myself, and many others within my post. The people in my post, and many other explorer posts are so incredibly motivated to train and learn. I think its a waste to not teach them different things and at least let them drill--safely.


    ...thats how I see things. Not sure if it makes sense.

    My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the family.
    Justin
    VP/Webmaster/EMT-B
    MDFR Post #1403

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    Nice post .........I wish all Jr's /Explorers could carry themsleves this way.GOOD JOB !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Good, well thought out post, Amtrakphan! I started this thread with a couple of goals in mind:

    1 Get people thinking about the safety aspect of "minors" (and legally, that's what juniors and explorers are) responding.

    2 Get people thinking about the legal liability of using these folks in hazardous duties.

    I have been told by our fire district's attorney that, even though all of our explorers are volunteers, we would most likely be held to the standard of compliance set out in child labor laws. That means that I, personally, could be held criminally liable if one or our explorers was injured or killed performing some assigned duty. Then, after the Commonwealth was done with me, the kids parents would have a go at me in civil court. Not a pretty scenario, but in our litigous society, one more likely than not to come true.

    That's why we have a fairly strict SOG covering explorers. It's also been examined by the BSA and approved by them.

    Besides the legal aspects of this issue, I believe that there is a moral obligation to our juniors/explorers/cadets to use them on firegrounds and in training in such a way that we give them the chance to gain the life experience and judgement that only comes with age.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Originally posted by resQengine
    Every person in here has just of much chance of being killed in an accident on your way to a call, as that 16 yr. old did. In fact I would say that there is more LODDS of older people than younger. Anyone could have slipped off that road. He didnt crash because he was 16. He crashed because the weather conditions were bad. That could have easily been anyone of you. How are the younger generation supposed to learn how things go on, if the stay at the station. They can either start learning at 16, or start at 18, or 21. Either way, they will be new to the fireground at one point in time. I dont think that they should be allowed to enter a burning structure, or cut the roof of a car. But certainly, I think they should be allowed to respond. While they are 16-17, they should be getting training with SCBA and Extrication Equipment. That way when they become 18, they are trained and ready to go. OTher wise, they have to be trained at 18 and wait that much extra time. Just my thoughts.
    At the tender age of 16, it means that he was operating a vehicle in the foul weather of winter for the first time. While conditions were undoubtedly poor, it is far more likely that a more experienced driver would have used his experience and operated the vehicle with proper control for the conditions.

    Go to a construction site, or any work place for that matter, and tell them that, as a 16 year old, they are doing you a disservice by not allowing you to operate a fork lift, or work in a high hazard atmosphere. After all, in a few years you will be old enough, how are you suppoed to learn?

    It is a fundamentally-flawed argument. Juniors are an important part of a FD, but you are children. And children should NOT be allowed to participate in dangerous activities.

    BTW: My FD experience began a long time ago when I was 16 as a junior. I was also rarin' to go. However, in retrospect, it was a smart move to not allow children to do certain things.

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    Engine101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Monrovia Ca
    Posts
    615

    Default

    Many who know me know the fact that I am strongly opposed to allowing explorer's jr firefighter's,, cadets, etc whatever they are called to respond from home, This youngman died when his POV left the roadway while he was enroute to a response, After this tragedy his department will probably go a major overhaul of there guidlines for explorers All parts of this job is dangerous some more than others,

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber
    btroutm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    33

    Default

    Amtrakphan, excellent post. I think that there are two separate issues here. The first involves what explorers/juniors are able to do on scene and the second involves how they get there. The 16 yr old LODD that recently occurred had nothing to do with what younger members are able to do on scene, and everything to do with how they get there. There is no reason that ANY explorer or junior should be responding to a call in their POV. I understand their eagerness to be involved, but that eagerness can end up costing them their life. If they're at the station and are allowed to go with the crew, then they can go. If they're not there, then they missed out and they'll have to wait for the next one.

    Every response to a scene is dangerous, but responding in a POV is often even more dangerous. Not to mention, it is a proven fact that teenagers get in more accidents (there's a reason insurance costs more for them). Combining the dangers of any response with the higher accident rate teens have is a no-win situation. Unfortunately, it seems we have to learn this the hard way.

    I send my regards to the family of the young man.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    192

    Default

    at the department i am at we have firefighters cadets and me and 2 others are interns

    we respond on every call while at the station adn are aloud to do everything but go insde a burning building...since i normally run with the Ladder Truck(L-26) i was trained in moving and setting the 105' ladder on top of the truck..they also are having us do all vitals or at least be able to and spike bags for IVs we have all taken the EMT-B course and take the certification test at the end of the month...next month i take my 120 hour firefighter test...my cards will be held till July 29, this year pretty much we are the extra hands and i believe we are suposed to be fully suited up and scotted up even if we are staying outside the fire
    FireSarge
    Joseph Sullivan
    Ohio

    "Any man willing to die in my place is my brother. Any man willing to turn and run is my enemy. Which will you be?"

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Another question in this case has to do with the mode of response. Was this young man responding "emergency"? Did his department's SOGs permit him to respond "emergency"? Did he have a red light and siren on his POV? Did he have a permit for a red light and siren? Did he need a permit for a red light and siren in his state?

    In my department, our SOGs do not permit anyone below the rank of Assistant Chief to respond directly to the scene POV. In addition, our SOG for the explorers do not permit them to respond "emergency". In light of these two SOGs, no explorers should ever get a light and siren permit on my department.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big supporter of the explorer program. However I recognize the legal and moral responsibility I have towards these members, and the liability I expose myself and my department to if one of these kids are used in a legally or morally irresponsible way.

    I urge all chiefs with a cadet, junior, or explorer program in their departments to review their SOG, and maybe discuss them with their departments' attorney.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register