Thread: Explorers

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    Default Explorers

    Well to start off... Explorers used to be a very important part of our fire department. They were included in all our drills as they were on most of our calls with us and worked with us. This has all changed in the past couple years when our chief changed and the explorers were given the impression that they were unwanted. They went from the most active members to the most inactive.

    This brings me to now. Last month I asked my asst chief to help me bring back the explorers. I have been doing training with them for 4 weeks now and can see an increase in activity. Week 1 - 1 member, Week 2 - 1 member, Week 3 - 3 members, Week 4 - 5 members, 2 new members.

    As you can see they are increasing again and even bringing new people to join. (It was very frustrating the first few weeks trying to get them interested again.) Anyway, I'll include the current training schedule I have with them.

    Week 1 - Tools & Equipment
    Week 2 - Pumps
    Week 3 - JAWS
    Week 4 - Pumps (More indepth, more members)

    Upcoming
    Week 5 - Tools & Equipment and Water Barrel Fight (Real Fun for them)
    Week 6 - Search and Rescue (Touching on Self Rescue and Maydays)
    Week 7 - Ladders
    Week 8 - Drafting and Flowing Water
    Week 9 - Smokehouse - Search and Rescue (More advanced) including other local explorer posts.


    As you can see things are starting to get a little repetitive, but more indepth.

    My key point is that i'm trying to keep things interesting for them and hands on for the most part (A little lecture before, hands on later with commentary). Does anyone have any ideas or criticism? I am very open to suggestions.

    On, and on a side note.... To me these explorers are very important to our company. On days calls (like in the summer) we are very shorthanded, like every department in the area. We need them to know as much as us so we're on the same page. And IF something happened, we might need them to fill in for vital parts, while we do more dangerous tasks. (Most might not understand unless they are in a small department with little resources during the day.) Anyhow, like I said, any input would be greatly appreciated

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    Default awesome!

    as an explorer, i like what you have planned. I think it really fits the goals of what the explorer programs are all about-giving younger people hands-on exploration into the awesome world of fire/rescue/ems. what you have planned is an incredible "prerequisite" (per se) for us (explorers) who want to dive right in to firefighting, but don't have the oppertunity yet, as well as (for areas like your which are more "short handed") to give them actual 'jobs' on the fire scene.

    i only wish i was in your explorer post!

    i bet your explorers will be pretty enthused to be taking part in that program

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    Everything looks good. But I am lost on one part. In week three, when you say JAWS, are you referring to the Jaws of Life? If so I dont see the need for that to be in the training program. Or maybe I am just missing something.

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    ummm to add my 2 cents if it is jaws of life explorers arnt allowed to use them as per the bsa explorer guidelines or sog

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    Quote Originally Posted by chfd158
    ummm to add my 2 cents if it is jaws of life explorers arnt allowed to use them as per the bsa explorer guidelines or sog
    Yeah, I know... what I mean by JAWS is this.... How to set them up, information about them, how to extricate, all the info, w/o the hands on cutting. That way when they turn 18, we got them ready to go, with a real good idea of how to operate the jaws.

    Like I said, small town, need help, need these guys ready as soon as they are allowed. We wont have to worry about them using them on scene cause there will always be a senior member.

    Off the topic, and not what we do....but, say for instance, day call, car fire with entrapment. All we have is our 80yr old pump operator and truck driver and one or two explorers. In my mind, emergency is an emergency. To me that is an act first, think later scenario. And if need be, I want these guys capable of saving lives anyway. Understand? Trying to keep things as legal as possible, but teaching as much as possible aswell.

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    Default Explorers Saving Lives

    Lt. I like what you are doing, and understand the need for keeping posts active and interesting for the kids. However if you have a day call with your 80 y/o pump operator and a truck driver, you should seriously be considering mutual aid BEFORE you allow your explorers to operate any tools. When and I say WHEN not IF one of your kids gets hurt or hurts someone else the first thing the attorney is going to ask is "did you consider mutual aid" I am on of the most "pro" explorer people out there, but I will always stick to my guns that if you are even thinking about utilizing them in a forbidden situation you should be considering mutual aid from the get go. Just my two cents. I have no problem with them learning the equipment, and even "watching" a demonstattion by yourself and some of the other advisors, but they should in no way, no how ever be involved in an actual extrication. I like what you are trying to do, but no matter how active an explorer program is, it s not worth losing your home over.
    Jon
    Southern NH

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfdffemt17
    Lt. I like what you are doing, and understand the need for keeping posts active and interesting for the kids. However if you have a day call with your 80 y/o pump operator and a truck driver, you should seriously be considering mutual aid BEFORE you allow your explorers to operate any tools. When and I say WHEN not IF one of your kids gets hurt or hurts someone else the first thing the attorney is going to ask is "did you consider mutual aid" I am on of the most "pro" explorer people out there, but I will always stick to my guns that if you are even thinking about utilizing them in a forbidden situation you should be considering mutual aid from the get go. Just my two cents. I have no problem with them learning the equipment, and even "watching" a demonstattion by yourself and some of the other advisors, but they should in no way, no how ever be involved in an actual extrication. I like what you are trying to do, but no matter how active an explorer program is, it s not worth losing your home over.
    Jon
    Southern NH

    Yeah, I completely understand. The town next to us is in worst shape than we are though during the day. Some days they can only offer two senior members, sometimes one. I understand the law, but I still believe we are there for one reason, to save lives. Like I said. Something like car fire with entrapment. If need be, atleast have the explorers capable of an external attack to surpress the fire. They would never really need to extricate, but atleast be able to put the fire out.


    I'm just saying, the 1 in a million call. To me, life comes before the law.

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    Thats a great way to think....in theory. Just becuase you think your Explorers should be able to extricate "if the they have to" does not make it right or safe. Same goes with fire suppression. They are not firefighters, they are explorers. They should have nothing to do with fire suppression on a fully working car fire. If you ask me, you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit, giving these kids a false sense of security, thinking they now how to work tools and put out fire when they have no busisness doing either.

    Your intentions are great. You have the right idea. But there are limits. If i were you I would concentrate on teaching the explorers how to do things those other few members on scene do, like working the pump or draggin hose, giving the people who need to be on the front lines the oppertunity to do so.

    You also mentioned being short staffed. Have you tried any recruitment programs for the department?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245
    Thats a great way to think....in theory. Just becuase you think your Explorers should be able to extricate "if the they have to" does not make it right or safe. Same goes with fire suppression. They are not firefighters, they are explorers. They should have nothing to do with fire suppression on a fully working car fire. If you ask me, you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit, giving these kids a false sense of security, thinking they now how to work tools and put out fire when they have no busisness doing either.

    Your intentions are great. You have the right idea. But there are limits. If i were you I would concentrate on teaching the explorers how to do things those other few members on scene do, like working the pump or draggin hose, giving the people who need to be on the front lines the oppertunity to do so.

    You also mentioned being short staffed. Have you tried any recruitment programs for the department?

    Yes, we are always looking for members. Our town is 54sq miles, 1400 population. Big town, little amount of people. (20ish members, 10 explorers).

    I think you are all just misunderstanding me. I am teaching them as much as possible. When they are 18, they will be ready to go. Teaching too much doesn't hurt. I understand too that you guys are from towns that dont have the same problems as ours. I am sorry if you misunderstood me. We would never use explorers for the JAWs, maybe on a safety line. The point I was trying to make is that even though they cant use it, they can still learn it and be prepaired.

    That is all i'm saying, give them as much knowledge as possible. We all know there is TONS and TONS of things you can learn in the firefighting world. I'm just trying to give them a jumpstart, a peak into what there is. Anyway, this thread is getting off topic.

    The point was, does anyone have any ideas for future drills? I want these guys the be as knowledgable as possible. Teach them in as many fields as possible, can't hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245
    If i were you I would concentrate on teaching the explorers how to do things those other few members on scene do, like working the pump or draggin hose, giving the people who need to be on the front lines the oppertunity to do so.
    PLEASE ignore everything else that isn't in bold. I think putting an Explorer on the pump panel is as bad as putting an actual tool in their hand. It's one thing when you put them in charge of doing something that could hurt themselves', but it's totally different when you put them in charge of other's lives. If something happened to that pump and an Explorer was in charge, you can bet your bottom dollar you'd have a lawsuit on your hands.

    Rather focus on teaching them the basics: Ropes and KNOTS, hose lays, changing out SCBA bottles, what to do to set up Rehab at the fire scene, BASIC First Aid, quiz them on the location of equipment on the trucks, (if you want to help them become better firefighters in the future) you can even add in some Methodology stuff, terminology (Flashover, Backdraft, stages of fire, tetrahedron, etc.), teach them about the history of the Fire Service, and there is a lot more basic stuff that you can also cover! Well-rounded firefighters should not only know about the Fire Service in the here and now, but also how it has evolved into what it is today. There is a lot to be learned from the Fire Service history, besides the fact that it's pretty interesting to see how things have changed (example: the fire hydrant, fire hose, etc.). This is the type of stuff that our Explorers are trained on and they turn out great when they get on-line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTMPTB15
    PLEASE ignore everything else that isn't in bold. I think putting an Explorer on the pump panel is as bad as putting an actual tool in their hand. It's one thing when you put them in charge of doing something that could hurt themselves', but it's totally different when you put them in charge of other's lives. If something happened to that pump and an Explorer was in charge, you can bet your bottom dollar you'd have a lawsuit on your hands.

    .
    What do you base that on? Last time I checked pump operation was not a skill you had to have for Firefighter 1. Where I come from it is more of an aquired skill. The way it sounds you are basing your opinion on the fact that they are Explorers. I know alot of firefighters that I wouldnt trust working a pump while I was inside a burning house. On the other hand, I know more than one Explorer that I would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245
    What do you base that on? Last time I checked pump operation was not a skill you had to have for Firefighter 1. Where I come from it is more of an aquired skill. The way it sounds you are basing your opinion on the fact that they are Explorers. I know alot of firefighters that I wouldnt trust working a pump while I was inside a burning house. On the other hand, I know more than one Explorer that I would.
    That is the same with my department. A lot of guys I would not trust that are senior members to do things, even simple things like getting me a tool. They might go somewhere else. While on the other hand, i'm working with these explorers and am on the same page, they listen and want to learn. I can trust them to do simple tasks.

    Our company, like many others i'm sure has problems with the senior members. We dont get a lot of calls, therefor lack experience. I am all about training. The other guys hate it. Honostly, I would have to say that our company is nearly good for nothing and doesn't want to keep up.

    However our old chief was heavy in training and believed in all this. Next election is in 2 years. So until then, explorers are my goal. Keep them up to date, let them know all this stuff, so after 2 years goes by, we HAVE an interior team, we HAVE a jaws crew, we HAVE a functional fire company.

    Sucks, but we gotta build from the bottom, and cut the lost cause up top. That is the very key reason why I want to teach these guys as much as possible. (And yes, I know the boundries, so please dont turn this into a lawsuit thread).

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245
    What do you base that on? Last time I checked pump operation was not a skill you had to have for Firefighter 1. Where I come from it is more of an aquired skill. The way it sounds you are basing your opinion on the fact that they are Explorers. I know alot of firefighters that I wouldnt trust working a pump while I was inside a burning house. On the other hand, I know more than one Explorer that I would.
    You're right, you don't have to have Firefighter 1 to be able to operate a pump, but would you want someone on the pump panel with zero fire experience on the panel? You mean to tell me that your department immediately teaches new members how to pump the truck? That's a bit out of wack, but I guess when you can't get the members you gotta do what you can to scrape by. I can't think of one local department that would even think about putting an Explorer near the pump panel. Most departments require at least 2-4 yrs of firefighting experience before you can pump. With that experience the 'Engineer' knows ahead of time what the firefighters need. Operating a pump isn't just as simple as opening some valves, what about friction loss? pressure changes? hydrant pressure? and troubleshooting the pump. You're right though, it is an acquired skill... but one that should be acquired after several years of experience.
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    One problem i'm seeing here is all different types of companies. Hard to imagine one for some of you guys where explorers are vital members. Some of you guys never had calls where you get 2 guys out, call for mutual aid, and they come with 1 truck, only a driver. And that driver is an 65yr old chief.

    Figure some times. Day call, takes us up to 5 mins to respond. We call for mutual aid, another 5 mins. (It can take you 15 mins to drive across our town.) If its at the far end of our town. After 25 mins, you find to realize your mutual aid is only 1 guy. Call for another company, next closest is 15 mins away. 40 mins and you have 2 guys, 1 explorer.

    Tell me what you are gonna do with that? Say its car fire with entrapment. Just wait til you have enough guys to do anything? We have a very large town, very low population. You have to understand that we USE explorers for any position we can, and from what I understand. Explorers can use an attack line from an external attack. Like car fires, if far enough away, and just putting water on something.

    Like I said, life is first. Use what you have to save a life. Its a whole lot safer when everyone is trained.

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    Personally, at a car fire I'd hope that the members attacking the fire would be wearing SCBA. Given that thought, in our area, per BSA guidelines our Explorers are not allowed to go on air. Honestly, I really do feel sorry for the areas that have to rely on Explorers to do essential tasks, such as extinguishing vehicle fires. However, our area does allow explorers to operate a handline at a brush fire or something similar minor.
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    Default "Essential" Explorers

    I have been an advisor with our explorers for many years. I want them to learn everything they can learn about the fire service including how to put out fires, how to extracate victims from an automovile, and how to operate the pump on the engine, BUT I don't want them to have to use any of it until they are mature enough, both mentally, emotionally, and physically. As an advisor, you have to remember that you are legally acting as these minors parents when thier parents are not around. Unless you are willing to tell some dead kids parents that thier child was needed to fill in for an adult on a fire scene because they live in a small town and nobody of age was available. I'm not trying to preach, but I don't want to see another 6 months of posts on whether some junior or explorer should be considered for LLOD status. My stand is "When this member is a fully functioning adult, let him risk his life, until then no number of juniors equals a senior." Sorry I got so wordy. Be Safe
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    Default explorers

    only thing you have to remember - in the eyes of almost every regulatory agency, body, governing group out there - they are minors until the age of 18.
    if at that point your state statutes allow them into FF1 training - they will have a leg up on everyone else in knowledge and practical (but not real life) expierence.

    the USMC, USN, USAF and USA high school ROTC programs practice on everything - but they won't give a kid live ammo and say here - go man a post

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    Quote Originally Posted by FGFD43
    I have been an advisor with our explorers for many years. I want them to learn everything they can learn about the fire service including how to put out fires, how to extracate victims from an automovile, and how to operate the pump on the engine, BUT I don't want them to have to use any of it until they are mature enough, both mentally, emotionally, and physically. As an advisor, you have to remember that you are legally acting as these minors parents when thier parents are not around. Unless you are willing to tell some dead kids parents that thier child was needed to fill in for an adult on a fire scene because they live in a small town and nobody of age was available. I'm not trying to preach, but I don't want to see another 6 months of posts on whether some junior or explorer should be considered for LLOD status. My stand is "When this member is a fully functioning adult, let him risk his life, until then no number of juniors equals a senior." Sorry I got so wordy. Be Safe
    As I said before, in my opinion, age has nothing to do with it. I know plenty of older members who are not mature enough to do some things I would let our explorers do. Putting them on a pump panel is hardly endangering thier lives, and when trained properly, it isnt endangering anyone else's either.

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    Sounds good to me. That is all stuff explorers need to know but I definatly think that I would train the explorers in a different order than you have stated. Just my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer
    Sounds good to me. That is all stuff explorers need to know but I definatly think that I would train the explorers in a different order than you have stated. Just my opinion.
    Thats why i'm here, any input would help. I know the JAWs is definately out of place, but we had only 3 show up that time and they wanted to learn about them. We will be going back over them again in the future.

    When I joined my company, I was an explorer, and I know on calls we've been on, I've had to setup the jaws and get them ready for the senior member (shorthanded) while he talked to the patient and did other things. I believe we rolled with him, another explorer and me (as an explorer).

    As you can see, we use explorers when we can.

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    Glad to see that you are open to suggestions. If there is anything else I can help with feel free to shoot me a PM or email.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTMPTB15
    Personally, at a car fire I'd hope that the members attacking the fire would be wearing SCBA. Given that thought, in our area, per BSA guidelines our Explorers are not allowed to go on air. Honestly, I really do feel sorry for the areas that have to rely on Explorers to do essential tasks, such as extinguishing vehicle fires. However, our area does allow explorers to operate a handline at a brush fire or something similar minor.
    Yes, there are rules and restrictions, and guidelines and such, but the simple fact is this. In a real situation where lives are in danger, the limited knowledge of an explorer can go a long way. I go to calls not expecting to extricate victims or battle a raging car fire on a hose line, but in areas like mine, sometimes I am asked to, because there is no one else to do it. I have done things that the rules, and guidelines have said I shouldn't, but I was asked to do so because I was all that was there, and there was no alternative, explorers have more value than some of you think, it just depends on the dept. you're on.

    Think of this.

    If you had 2 explorers and yourself at 2:30 in the morning, and you had a car fire with exposure to other cars, a fuel oil tank and a house, and your mutual aid companies gave no response, would you tell the two explorers to do nothing and try to attack it yourself? or would you put an explorer on the pump, have the other one pack up and back you up on the line to extinguish the fire?

    Please also think, that explorers are the future of the fire service, and we like to feel appreciated. If you were ever an explorer, you should understand. My fire chief started his career as an explorer, and he thanks us for the littlest things, but those thank yous make it worth our time and effort. So take a moment and thank an explorer.

    Lieutenant516, you are a great man, I thank you for your efforts, I am glad for those kids that someone like you is looking out for them. Good luck, I hope all goes well for your group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFDexplorer2
    Yes, there are rules and restrictions, and guidelines and such, but the simple fact is this. In a real situation where lives are in danger, the limited knowledge of an explorer can go a long way. I go to calls not expecting to extricate victims or battle a raging car fire on a hose line, but in areas like mine, sometimes I am asked to, because there is no one else to do it. I have done things that the rules, and guidelines have said I shouldn't, but I was asked to do so because I was all that was there, and there was no alternative, explorers have more value than some of you think, it just depends on the dept. you're on.
    Ok, let me clarify one thing, it's not that the explorers aren't capable of performing tasks (such as backing someone up on a line); but it is an issue of not being allowed to do such tasks. It's simple, if you get hurt.. both you and your department are screwed. And no, the argument "there is no one else.." won't work for insurance companies. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFDexplorer2
    Think of this.

    If you had 2 explorers and yourself at 2:30 in the morning, and you had a car fire with exposure to other cars, a fuel oil tank and a house, and your mutual aid companies gave no response, would you tell the two explorers to do nothing and try to attack it yourself? or would you put an explorer on the pump, have the other one pack up and back you up on the line to extinguish the fire?
    Read the part in bold, enough said. I wouldn't leave the station with less explorers than firefighters on a truck. If it's burning, it'll be burning when we get there... wait a few minutes for more firefighters, it's not like they're at work at 2:30 in the AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFDexplorer2
    Please also think, that explorers are the future of the fire service, and we like to feel appreciated. If you were ever an explorer, you should understand. My fire chief started his career as an explorer, and he thanks us for the littlest things, but those thank yous make it worth our time and effort. So take a moment and thank an explorer.
    Was an explorer from 14-18. Looking back, there is no way I would have known enough to be on a pump panel. After 3 years, I still don't feel comfortable (nor have the desire) to be on the pump panel. There is a reason they don't stick firefighters on the pump panel straight out of recruit academy. It might seem like a 'non-essential' task on the fireground, but I'd much rather have a rookie backing me up on the line than have them supplying me water inside the house. Atleast I can knock them off the line if they are dicking around, I'm screwed if something happens to the pump and the person on the panel can't think quick enough to correct it. Just some thoughts, from a previous explorer...
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTMPTB15
    Ok, let me clarify one thing, it's not that the explorers aren't capable of performing tasks (such as backing someone up on a line); but it is an issue of not being allowed to do such tasks. It's simple, if you get hurt.. both you and your department are screwed. And no, the argument "there is no one else.." won't work for insurance companies. Period.

    Come on now, lol. Haven't you learned yet... OSHA guidelines and NFPA guidelines contradict eachother, one says its ok, the other say its not..... You know just as much as me, IF someone gets hurt, someone is introuble. You simply can't follow every guidelines in a volunteer department and be successful.

    Example: One says according to Two In - Two Out.... Command and Pump Operator can be the Two out.... however, according to another one, the two out have to be packed and ready, and can't be busy with other tasks, like pumping and running a command. Also, whens the last time you saw command and the pump op in a pack.

    There are MANY MANY other instances where the two contradict each other and you know if you go to court over anything, all these will be thrown at you..... So simple enough, if you are in command, and someone gets hurt, be prepaired to get yelled at in court.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant516
    Come on now, lol. Haven't you learned yet... OSHA guidelines and NFPA guidelines contradict eachother, one says its ok, the other say its not..... You know just as much as me, IF someone gets hurt, someone is introuble. You simply can't follow every guidelines in a volunteer department and be successful.

    Example: One says according to Two In - Two Out.... Command and Pump Operator can be the Two out.... however, according to another one, the two out have to be packed and ready, and can't be busy with other tasks, like pumping and running a command. Also, whens the last time you saw command and the pump op in a pack.

    There are MANY MANY other instances where the two contradict each other and you know if you go to court over anything, all these will be thrown at you..... So simple enough, if you are in command, and someone gets hurt, be prepaired to get yelled at in court.
    Replied to PM... honestly, it's easier to understand why a firefighter might get injured operating in the 'hot zone'.. now try to explain why an explorer was operating in the 'hot zone' and why they got hurt. That argument won't float, if I was a lawyer all I'd have to say is, "They had no business being there, here's the rules stating that, clearly your department ignored those rules, now hand over the keys to your station cause this family now owns it. (sarcasm!)"
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