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  1. #1
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    Default Need advice on starting jr. ff program

    I am Captain of my fire dept and I have been thinking for some time now on starting a jr. firefighter/explorer program. Please give me some advice on the best way to approach this from your point of view. What kind of training do you want, what are ideas to keep it interesting?

    ALSO... How do I answer the guys who complain that they dont want to be babysitting or they say the kids would be getting into everything. Another complaint is that by the time they reach 18 years old, most are off to college or the military and the training time was wasted.

    THANKS

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.


  2. #2
    Forum Member FDNY101TRUCK's Avatar
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    From experience I think the best training is the hands on training...its its allowed packing up and practicing search and rescue in a dark room with obstacles is very fun and you learn too. Also I think doing some classroom lectures is good but dont stick to just that. The kids go to school they dont want to go to the firehouse and have to sit and be lectured every single time.
    About the babysitting, tell them you or whoever is in charge will take charge and will tend to the kids...also let the kids prove to everyone that they wont get into everything and they wont be a nuisance. And yes when they turn 18 they will leave BUT there are some that will go to college and join a fire dept out there and take all their training with them. Also there are some that might not go to college or the military and will stick around town and take a year off and continue to be on the fire dept. I'm leaving for the military in a couple of days but i dont think the training i have learned was wasted at all.
    NEVER FORGET!
    9/11/01

  3. #3
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    Well starting a junior/explorer program is a SUPER idea!!! I LOVE the hands-on stuff as well.. But I also like to sit down and listen to the important things. I LOVE to ask questions.... SOme FUN hands on things are hose drils, live burns, obstacle courses(in full gear), Ladder drills, search and rescue, communications, fundraisers, and etc. THe best part ther are so many commpetitions that you can enter.
    As for the guys being worried about babysitting. They shouldn't be worried at all....This is their chance to "show-off" what they know. I look up to all the guys at my dept. It's cool to be able to ask any question and not feel stupid. THey'll probably get frustrated with some juniors because of repetiveness or lack of social skills. The guys at my dept always encourage us to try harder and to do our best. SO make sure the people you choose are good with kids or act like kids...lol
    Now as for us getting into everything that's the best way to learn things...For example: A junior goes to a fully involved structure fire and you ask them to grab a tool off the truck...BUT they don't know where it is, so make sure you over the trucks...and let them snoop in them too.
    The point of starting a junior program is for the experience. Not everyone is going to go to college or the military. I am going to become a career Firefighter/EMT thanks to the junior program. Just remember fire fighting isn't for everyone so don't get discouraged or drop the program if you lessen up on juniors. It happens.

  4. #4
    Forum Member tbonetrexler's Avatar
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    Default

    try the search function, not trying to be mean, i just couldnt get the hyperlinks to work in my post

  5. #5
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    Thanks, good advice so far.

    To fdny101-I'm glad to here there is also an interest in the lecture part of a program. I know everyone likes the hands on stuff. Good luck in the military. My hats off to ya. Be safe and the old saying applies, dont volunteer for anything-Ha!

    To avfd- You like to listen too, great. One of the first things I assign to my new probies is a test. I tell them they will learn nothing from me until they pass that test. The test is they have to walk around all of our apparatus and tell me what is behind each door I lay my hand on. I feel that first you gotta know where everything is before you can learn to do anything else. As far as people getting into things, the other day I brought the engine back to the house and found a spanner wrench sitting on the front bumper! I should have caught it on my 360 but didnt. Sombody made the Cappy look bad and thats never a good thing.

    To tbone- I didnt want old info from young people cause they learn new stuff everyday. But I will ck it out. thanks.

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Slaytallica45's Avatar
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    yea, Junior programs really are a great thing, cause like avfd, i am also going to be a career Firefighter/EMT thanks to my departments junior program. one thing my department does with our juniors thats reall good that i suggest is try to teach stuff that they will need once they turn 18 and go through fire school. I'm taking my Firefighter 1 course this fall and im positive i'll have no problem passing it cause alot of the drills we did are the drills they teach you at fire school.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    A junior program is a great idea and not as big of a committment as you might think.

    I started as a junior when I was 16 and I went on to go to college for fire science and now I work as a full time firefighter. The junior program at the fire department where I started out (this was a volly dept making about 350 runs a year) really helped steer me in this direction.

    The reason I say it is not as big a committment as you might think is that simply recognizing junior members as important helpers and teaching them along with your senior members is the most important parts. At the company where I started they didn't do ANY special junior activities. We were simply encouraged to come to every training and work night and were treated well. That allowed us to motivate ourselves. On the plus side juniors more motivated than your seniors in a lot of cases. They should be an important part of your overall department plans.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    I have just recently been appointed chairman of our department's junior program and i think that one of the first things to look at is the child labor laws and how they apply to the fire service. I know that in PA juniors can join a fire service at the age of 14 with strict restrictions on what activities they can participate in. At that age, they restrict them to mostly all training, which i believe is the primary reason for a junior program. Like I stated before, we chose to use a committee type structure with a chairman (appointed by the chief) and two advisors (appointed by the chairman) to oversee the operations of the junior program. We also elected to have a junior Capt. and Lt. (made up of two junior members) who have the responsibility of recruitment and recognition of other junior members to allow leadership/responsibility training. These ranks hold no authority, however, it gives the junior members someone to level with if they have minor issues. We also broke the training up in to three levels, the level of training is in accordance with Department of Education specs, and determines the amount of activity allowed to participate on a fire scene. In closing, I think the junior/explorer programs are an excellent idea and and excellent way to train/familiarize younger members to the fire service.

  9. #9
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    Default EXplorer

    check out WWW.Learning-for-Life.org
    essential part of BSA.

    i look at it this way - my son is 16 1/2 - been active as explorer since 14 years and 1 day - and is now doing First Aid squad also.

    is it better he is hanging out at Fire house or squad building - or on a street corner doing who know what with who know who using whatever ....no brainer in our (my wife & I) book! The important part is that they learn....responsibility, knowledge and real life - they understand the importance of rules and reg's, safety, etc. and they have fun - and occassionally see those parts of life that are not always pleasant but are real. our dept has 50 members, 20 under 30 - all former explorers - that says it all!

    drop me an email - i'll send you a copy of our introdcutory package.

  10. #10
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    I do enjoy the learning part, but make sure you don't make it drawn out and boring. Makes people lose interest in what your saying and not pay attention. in other words BEEN THERE DONE THAT. But I was the listener not the speaker. And say your dept. is having extrication classes or something encourage your juniors to come watch. THough most for most classes you have to be 18 to actually do the hands-on stuff, it gives you something to look foward to. Our dept. recenlty held a class to get certified in cpr and AED (defibillator, not a good speller)which is something I actually got to do. I was so proud when I found out that I passed the class.

  11. #11
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    Smile WOW

    I'm glad I started this thread, lots of info-thanks everyone.
    I now have a good Idea on how to structure the program. I like the idea of a chain of command in the jrs and I think their commander would be the one they should go to with complaints/problems etc and he would come to me. Also having a suggestion box would be a way to go in case they need a way around him.
    I dont know if I want to start with age 14, this might be harder on us but tonyg26's post about teenagers having a place to go and a place to focus their minds hit a nerve. In my community, when I here of a kid whose gotten in trouble with Police etc, I always make a point of starting a conversation with the kid (they all end up walking by the station sooner or later) and at least showin them some concern and respect.
    I need to hear some ideas on how to make the jr's stand out at a call so they dont get in over their heads. When we are in another town for mutual aid, they wont know the faces. Our probies wear a large P on their helmets.
    Also, do the jr's mind having to clean up after structure fires all the time when they arent allowed to fight those fires?

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

  12. #12
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    Default jr FF's

    we have three ways for the jr FF's to be id'd -
    1 - dept standard helmet is traditional FF issue - explorers have bright orange hard hat's with visors
    2 - they have tan turnout gear labeled EXPLORER - old gear donated from another dept.
    3 - clear rules - not allowed on rig if responding to known fatality or hazmat, not allowed past rig vicinity on MVA call, not allowed past hydrant (or rig) on fire call
    Last one is big - they break the rules, penalty ranges from suspension to dismissal

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    Our station didn't allow junior ff's until age 16. Others started at 14. I might think about waiting for 16 as it brings more maturity. If you do use 14 then think seriously about not letting them run calls until age 16. That way they earn the right to go on calls by working at drills and work details until age 16. I don't know if I agree with you about sensoring them from certain types of calls. If you are going to expose them to it expose them to it all (starting at 16). I saw some crazy stuff before I was 18 and it gives you the full picture of the profession.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Slaytallica45's Avatar
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    in our department, you arent allowed to be a junior until the age of 16, and we're allowed to run on every call so long as there arent enough certified firefighters that would take our place on the truck. the way they show that we are juniors in my dept. is that the 18+ firefighters all have black traditional helmets, and we have yellow helmets that have "Junior Firefighter" written around it, we also have blue i.d. tags and they have white i.d. tags. other than that we all have the same turnout gear.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up

    Our juniors are marked with green accountability tags and with blue trapazoid markings on their helmets as well as the level of training according to our SOG's (ie. I, II, III). Each level of training attained determines what they can and cannot do. They must reach age 16 to attain anything over level I training. However, our juniors may NOT respond to any dispatched hazmat and/or mutual aid alarm and they cannot respond to calls with stand-by companies covering our station.

    I don't see any problems within our department with junior cleaning up after the calls, they use that time to get to know the officers and other senior members as well as learning some basics.

  16. #16
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    I live in Illinois and I wanna join an Explorer Post but I don't know of any in Illinois. Where can I go to find a list of the Explorer Posts in Illinois or can someone tell me them. Thanks.



    email me at cw_basketball_81@hotmail.com or add me on MSN with that address.

    also, email me or add me at cwbraves81@yahoo.com or reply on here

    Thanks,

    Anthony

  17. #17
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    Our department has an "explorer" program, but in 1990, we left the Boy Scouts and became the Fire Cadet Program. Since then our format changed completely. Our Cadet are allowed on at the age of 15, and must complete a 6-month probationary period before allowed to calls. After the probation ends, they recieve a Minitor II and old structure gear that firefighters can no longer use.

    The probation period has requirements such as recieving a "Probationary Packet" which lists all of the engines/trucks/ambulances and everything that's on them. A prob. Cadet must go through each apparatus with a Lt. or higher to get the packet signed. If this packet is not completed within the time limit, then the Cadet can not get off of probation. This filters out inexperienced Cadets at the scene possibly saving lives and loads of time.

    When Cadets become 18 years old and will be staying in the department, (not going off to college right away) they can go to fire academy and take the firefighter II. After they pass, they can become probationary Paid-On-Call firefighters.

    Our Cadet program is self-running. We have a Cadet Captain, Administrative Lieutenant (fundraising and secretarial), Opperations Lieutenant (training), first and second Engineers to aid the Lts. and everyone else that did not place is considered Cadet. In order to get these positions, seniority and testing is used. The test is a study test for FF II and an oral exam. The oral exam is normally based off of teaching a class such as ladders or hose rolling (something we are used for often). Merit is also used so more experienced Cadets get the position instead of a prob. Cadet.

    We have a Cadet Advisor who over-sees all of our trainings and makes sure we are on course and learning. No fooling around here.

    Our Cadets are allowed to ride the rig and go to the scene and do almost everything the firefighters are EXCLUDING interior firefighting. Cadets also do "station duty" to help familurize them with everyday life of a firefighter. Cadets are not allowed to respond to "high risk" calls such as airport, haz-mat, expressway and the chemical plant. Safety is always an issue here, and kids seem to make everything more difficult.

    As for gear, Cadet have yellow helmets, the old turnout gear (our department switched 5 years ago, and we get all of the old stuff), old non-NFPA boots, old gloves, old nomex... everything is old to help cut costs. Cadets study out of the Essentials Edition 4 book and after about a year, they generally go through the FF II and most of it's practical training excercises.

    I hope my post helped you with your own explorer program!

    ~*

  18. #18
    Forum Member Jodie130's Avatar
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    Default Great information

    I must say I am very impressed with the in depth attention alot of you give to your jrs. We have just started our Explorer program. As of now we only have 5 members, but it will soon grow. We were concerned a little as to how we were going to indentify them, but the ideas that some of you had were a big help. Also, did any of you have to go through the Boy Scouts? We did, and it greatly helped out on the insurance side of things. Also, I'm wandering if any of you had them create thier own infrastructure? I think letting them make alot of thier own descisions in certain areas also gives them a better understanding of things, as well as self worth. I'm not sure if I agree with the person in charge of the scene being in charge of the Explorers though. As Chief, I have enough responsibilty without having to make sure they are okay too. I usually assign them to someone who is a firefighter, but who does not have to deal with the scene directly. Somehow I have quiet a few of those. LOL. Anyway, thank you for all the info, and keep up the good work.
    A Volunteer Firefighter wants to make a difference. A Trained Volunteer Firefighter does make a difference.

  19. #19
    Forum Member Co11FireGal's Avatar
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    CAPPYY--

    I gathered all of the info for my dept., leading up to us actually starting our program about 3 years ago, and have been taking care of the program for the last year and a half or so. I have our bylaws, applications, and a few other things. If you are interested, drop me an e-mail with your contact info and I'll send it to you.

    ~Courtney
    FFApride2002@aol.com
    IACOJ

    "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap it if we do not lose heart."

  20. #20
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    Thanks FireGal and eveyone, I have alot of info to digest and will contact you if more is needed. Again thanks. Keep going on this thread because its great info for eveyone!


    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

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