Fire Explorers host Marion District Camporee

For the past year, some of your firefighters from Friendship Fire Station have been volunteering their time for the Boy Scouts of America. Firefighter Paramedic Misty Rinaudo (Station 21), Firefighter/EMT Joe Rinaudo, Chief Shari Hall, myself and others have been working together to form Marion County Fire-Rescue Explorer Post 982.

The post, chartered under the Boy Scouts of America, is a worksite-based program that allows young men and women high school students the opportunity to gain insight on a career in firefighting.

We have students from West Port High School, along with other students from each high school in Marion County, participating in the Explorer Post. We have one Post, which has three troops: Headquarters, Pedro and Lake Tropicana. We meet every other Tuesday and have a field training day one Saturday each month.

The Explorers have participated in many events this past year. They have participated in the opening ceremony of the new Public Library, the grand opening of Marion County Fire Station 1, the Ocala/Marion County Christmas Parade, and the Taste Of Scouting, to name a few.

We were awarded Marion District Explorer Post of the Year, Advisor of the Year, and first place for Explorers exhibit at the Taste of Scouting.

Recently we helped host the Marion District Spring Camporee, which was held at the Florida State Fire College from March 11 to 13. This year's emphasis was on Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Response.

Along with the Florida State Fire College, Ocala Fire Department, Marion County Sheriff's Office, and the Marion County Ham Operators Association we had an exciting weekend.

There were 200 Boy Scouts and Scout leaders camping and participating in "hands on" events such as, advancing of fire hose, ham radio operations, emergency mobile command center operations, ropes and knots, emergency home preparedness, first aide, confined space maze, emergency evacuation, and a live fire extinguisher demonstrations.

For the final emergency preparedness event each Boy Scout troop was given a search and rescue scenario. On this event, each troop had to located a victim and provide emergency first aide.

They then had to remove the patient to a mock triage area and turn the patient over to a trained paramedic. The triage paramedics were FF/PM Misty Rinaudo (Station 21) and Volunteer PM Marge Hughes (Station 23).

Needless to say, the Boy Scouts had their hands full. There were 16 different patients the scouts had to provide first aide to.

All the patients were Fire Explorers. And let me tell you, they could act. They acted so well that you would think they were really injured.

Their injuries ranged from broken bones, snake bites, head injuries, and burns to hypothermia and shock. Once the scouts found their "assigned" patient, the only items that could be used for treatment were items from their own campsite.

All did an excellent job. It's amazing what these fine young boys can do.

FF/PM Rinaudo and Margo Hughes did an excellent job with the Scouts, teaching them First Aide and managing the triage sector. Once all patients were accounted for and turned over to Misty, she conducted a very good critique of each troop's assessment and treatment of their patients.

By the close of the final event, we had the full attention of every Boy Scout and Scout leader for question and answer time.

In Closing

I would also like to thank the National Association of Retired Federal Employees for inviting me to speak at their monthly meeting. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet the community in which I love to serve in.

Unfortunately until the end of April, I will be unable to schedule any more meetings. I will be busy preparing for my wedding and then I will be off on my honeymoon. If you need to have a guest speaker during this time I can arrange to have another captain visit your meeting. They would be honored to come and speak.

Please drive safely and remember to watch out and take care of one another. This community is what a family is all about.

Captain Pamela Few serves the Southwest District for Marion County Fire-Rescue. You may call her at 694-6667, or e-mail