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  1. #21
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emtbff927 View Post
    He was riding his bike to the station. He wasn't going to go interior at a fire. Even if he were to have gone to the scene, he would be doing exterior firefighting operations.

    I agree with the previous judges ruling. U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Marian Blank Horn said, "Christopher Kangas died 'in the line of duty' and was a 'firefighter' authorized to be at a fire scene and perform duties as part of a team engaged in the 'suppression of fires' at the time of his death."

    Like it or not, his fire chief decided to allow minors to be members of the fire department, come to the station, and perform exterior operations on scenes. Those who don't like the chief's decision should advocate a law that doesn't allow this form of volunteering for those under a particular age. If you don't want to advocate that, then propose a Jr. FF/Explorer memorial. Since I'm not aware of either of those existing at the time of Chris's death, he should have a place on the FF memorial.
    My God....did you even read your own post? Let me reiterate what you wrote...

    He was riding his bike to the station. He wasn't going to go interior at a fire. Even if he were to have gone to the scene, he would be doing exterior firefighting operations.
    14 years old and placed in an IDLH environment...

    I can see your arguement now, so I will "head it off at the pass"..

    Even being an "exterior" firefighter, you are still in an IDLH environment.

    You might be out of the smoke... until the wind shifts.

    You might be on a hose line on the outside and consider yourself safe... until the wall collapses on top of you.

    You might be in a cold zone at a hazmat operation.. until you find out that the chemical you thought you were dealing with is not what you think it is an a hell of a lot nastier.. and you find yourself exposed to potentially toxic levels.

    You might be directing traffic at an accidenr scene.. until someone driving OUI or chatting on the cell phone drives right into the "pretty flashing lights" and runs you down.

    I am going to say it here, and may be flamed for it... but it has to be said...

    Any fire chief who would allow a 14 year old anywhere near a fireground as a "firefighter" should be brought up on charges of child endangerment.

    Just my 5 cents worth.. Deputy Chiefs have to pay a little more...
    ‎"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


  2. #22
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    Down here to work as a Qualified Fire Fighter you MUST BE 18.

    No exceptions.

    To even get in the truck when tones drop, you must be a QFF.

    No exceptions.

    Some places do run Cadet Schemes for 16 to 18 year olds, but they never attend incidents.

    No exceptions.

    The idea of a 14 - 15 year old doing exterior duties at a fire while I am inside, scares me more than any fire I could face.

    Apart from their lack of physical development, lack of mental cognisance, lack of mental maturity. There is the plain simple fact that at any given time, people outside can be needed inside in a hurry.

    I would much rather have a QFF manning that function thanks.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  3. #23
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    I'll be unpopular and state my opinion. So be it. I've always said I'd rather say and do what I think is right than say and do what is popular. I'm not about to change that now.

    I'm sure Chris was a great kid and his dedication to the fire service should be remembered. But let's face the incontrovertible fact that he wasn't a firefighter. No 14 year old kid is.

    Honor him however you wish but let's keep our perspective.

    It may make some people feel all warm and fuzzy to fight to be all inclusive but it isn't realistic. We reserve certain honors specifically for firefighters and forcibly including non-firefighters is a disservice to the actual firefighters who we have cause to honor. Making this exception is a precendant that we should not make. The DOJ is right.

    We should honor Chris Kangas on his own merits and not try to make him into something that he never was.

    Feel free to flame in private and keep the forum civil and orderly.
    I get it completely.

    Something about 14 year olds prevents them from being firefighters. Makes complete sense. Overweight lard asses who show up and keel over while sitting on a 2 1/2 lobbing water on the roof of a building doomed by lack of training and interest are LODD, but a kid, who should be forbidden from responding or functioning in any capacity at an emergency scene doesn't rate.

    Get rid of or revamp Explorer programs to keep them from responding at all and providing even support positions, and I'm behind you completely, except for the moronic aassertion that no 14 year old ever is a firefighter. That's simply ridiculous. Hell, there are 8 year old miners for Chesty Puller's sake!

    Fact is, if some guy stirring Kool-aid for REhab got tets up, he's LODD because he's a member. This kid was, too; whether that was wise or not is moot.

  4. #24
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    That's simply ridiculous. Hell, there are 8 year old miners for Chesty Puller's sake!
    Sooo...let's get this straight; you think that children should be working in mines and as firefighters? What about walking the high steel 50 floors up in construction? Twelve year old members of SWAT teams during a shootout? Should children who attend NASA's Space Camp be considered astronauts? What about fifteen year old underwater welders? Hell, let's just sign them up for the Marine Corp at fourteen, while we're at it. Classifying this boy as a firefighter is setting a very dangerous precedent, in my opinion...as well as an insulting one to every real firefighter in the world who's earned the title. Bring up all the fat guy heart attack analogies you like; it doesn't make this kid a firefighter.

  5. #25
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    I get it completely.
    From what followed, apparently not.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Something about 14 year olds prevents them from being firefighters. Makes complete sense.
    Yes, it does. Adults can be firefighters. Children cannot. Certainly not 14 y/o children. 14 y/o children can play at being firefighters and even function as civilian support at fire scenes from the safety of the cold zone. Exceptional children -- like Chris Kangas, from the sound of it -- can even work to learn about what firefighters do so that they can become firefighters when they become adults.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Overweight lard asses who show up and keel over while sitting on a 2 1/2...
    Irrelevant straw man argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    ... a kid, who should be forbidden from responding or functioning in any capacity at an emergency scene doesn't rate.
    Agreed. And you've even supplied a significant reason why not.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Get rid of or revamp Explorer programs to keep them from responding at all and providing even support positions,
    Explorer programs that follow the BSA rules do pretty much exactly that.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    except for the moronic aassertion that no 14 year old ever is a firefighter. That's simply ridiculous.
    Ridiculous? No, just Labor Law 101. A 14 y/o isn't allowed to operate a cash register -- certainly not work as a firefighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    Hell, there are 8 year old miners for Chesty Puller's sake!
    Which third world country did you have in mind?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    he's LODD because he's a member. This kid was, too; whether that was wise or not is moot.
    Is that your whole argument? He wasn't a "Firefighter" member of the fire department: he was a "Junior Firefighter". Legally, that's all he could be.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  6. #26
    Forum Member emtbff927's Avatar
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    My God....did you even read your own post? Let me reiterate what you wrote...
    I'm proud of my post. Thank you for posting it again.

    14 years old and placed in an IDLH environment...

    I can see your arguement now, so I will "head it off at the pass"..

    Even being an "exterior" firefighter, you are still in an IDLH environment.

    You might be out of the smoke... until the wind shifts.

    You might be on a hose line on the outside and consider yourself safe... until the wall collapses on top of you.

    You might be in a cold zone at a hazmat operation.. until you find out that the chemical you thought you were dealing with is not what you think it is an a hell of a lot nastier.. and you find yourself exposed to potentially toxic levels.

    You might be directing traffic at an accidenr scene.. until someone driving OUI or chatting on the cell phone drives right into the "pretty flashing lights" and runs you down.

    I am going to say it here, and may be flamed for it... but it has to be said...

    Any fire chief who would allow a 14 year old anywhere near a fireground as a "firefighter" should be brought up on charges of child endangerment.
    I agree, but it doesn't change the fact that he was authorized to perform those operations. Also, he didn't die performing fire operations. He died riding his bike to the station. I guess children riding bikes is dangerous too.

    If you don't like his name going on the FF memorial, re-read the last two paragraphs of my original post.

  7. #27
    Forum Member res54cuecaptain's Avatar
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    ok, for those of you who dont like jr firefighters, you obviously dont know how important they are to understaffed vollie depts. while im not saying they should ever take the place of adults, they are the future of our service. 20 out of the last 25 new members came through the jr firefighting program. 24 out of our current 33 members came through or are still in our jr program. while i know that children shouldnt be put in harms way, there is (as said before) still a risk in ANYTHING YOU DO!!! even sitting at your comp reading this post, you are at some danger at being killed. its sad, and even frightening, to say, but its true. its an iffy topic, and i feel that he was not a true 'firefighter'.

    my proposal:

    make a special part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial specifically for members under the age of 18 (or whatever qualifies you as a 'junior' or 'explorer') that dies in the 'line of duty'. that way, he is recognized, but not at the 'level' that our brothers that died in the interior of a structure.
    First in, Last out, nobody left behind.....

  8. #28
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowbreaker View Post
    Using the logic of some here, the only deaths that are LODD are interior firefighters that do not come out alive. If you die on the way to a fire it does not count. If you die on the way from a fire it does not count. If you die at a fire but it is not inside a structure it does not count. I suppose if you do not follow policy, get lost in a fire, run out of air and die it does not count. If you do not follow policy and fall thru the hole in the floor and die it does not count.

    Get real. If the kid's chief said he was a firefighter who are we to question it. I say Chris was a firefighter. If he had been on a truck when he died no one would question his status. I have riden my bike, as have several others, to the fire hall when the pager sounds. If we get run over I guess we won't count either. One nice thing about it, using your logic, at the end of the year we will not have many LODD's but unfortunately we will still have a lot of dead firefighters.
    I agree. Chris was serving as a (junior) firefighter, and as such, deserves a place on wall, at least considering what the past precedent has been.

    It is my personal belief that the only people that should go on the wall are those firefighter that actually die in buildings that are on fire, or that die in collisions while responding to alarms in department vehicles. Maybe even those who die at the scene after exiting a burning building (such as from a heart attack at the scene), but that's it.

    no more deaths while responding in personal vehicles. no more fire police deaths. no more "heart attacks while on duty." no more parade or non-alarm related stupid deaths. We grant people who don't deserve LODD status a place on the wall, it should be reserved for only those who actually died while fighting a fire.

    but until that gets changed, Chris deserves his place on the wall.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  9. #29
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    Sooo...let's get this straight; you think that children should be working in mines and as firefighters? What about walking the high steel 50 floors up in construction? Twelve year old members of SWAT teams during a shootout? Should children who attend NASA's Space Camp be considered astronauts? What about fifteen year old underwater welders? Hell, let's just sign them up for the Marine Corp at fourteen, while we're at it. Classifying this boy as a firefighter is setting a very dangerous precedent, in my opinion...as well as an insulting one to every real firefighter in the world who's earned the title. Bring up all the fat guy heart attack analogies you like; it doesn't make this kid a firefighter.
    Did I say they should? I said they are. If I said there are, right now, people killing moms and dogs, would you equate that with me saying people "should" be killing moms and dogs? I am rejecting the notion that no 14 year old is ever a firefighter. It's ethnocentric and stupid.

    Fact is, he was allowed to respond to scenes. The mistake is in letting these kids do anything but wash fire trucks and hang around the station.

    You want to defeat my analogy, then bring it. Either firefighters dying in support positions are LODD or not. This kid was responding. If he was breaking the rules, then he was just a kid doing something wrong, if not, then the privileges allowed him make him a firefighter.

  10. #30
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    From what followed, apparently not.



    Yes, it does. Adults can be firefighters. Children cannot. Certainly not 14 y/o children. 14 y/o children can play at being firefighters and even function as civilian support at fire scenes from the safety of the cold zone. Exceptional children -- like Chris Kangas, from the sound of it -- can even work to learn about what firefighters do so that they can become firefighters when they become adults.
    Actually, Jefe, I summarized the argument quite well.
    Are you making an argument from law or from what is really real? Is there some hormone that permits becoming a firefighter, or is a certification and a t-shirt after a coming of age ceremony enough?



    Irrelevant straw man argument.
    Not enough to say, you must demonstrate.



    Explorer programs that follow the BSA rules do pretty much exactly that.
    But did this one?



    Ridiculous? No, just Labor Law 101. A 14 y/o isn't allowed to operate a cash register -- certainly not work as a firefighter.
    Yes, because current labor laws encompass the globe and all time. The statement was broad and that was its weakness; let it die quietly.



    Which third world country did you have in mind?
    Pick one. You may think it's okay to demean children put into adult roles by circumstance, you may imagine that we have always considered 14 year olds children. I do not. I am not the one who departed from the issue of this boy's status as a firefighter or not, I merely pointed out the absurdity of the notion that a 14 year old cannot be a firefighter. They might be legally prevented from being a firefighter in this or other countries, but there is no accident of being 14 that prevents one from being a firefighter.



    Is that your whole argument? He wasn't a "Firefighter" member of the fire department: he was a "Junior Firefighter". Legally, that's all he could be.
    And of course, the law is always right.

  11. #31
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    Just because a local fire chief says it's ok for kids to perform firefighting duties on his department does not mean that the federal government is going to agree. Last time I checked the chiefs didn't decide who qualified for an LODD.

    Also, for me it isn't so much the memorial as it is the death benefits. The benefits serve a purpose, and that is to support the widow (or widower) of a fallen firefighter. Many spouses of FFs are stay at home moms or work low wage jobs. Dad is the bread winner, and the family cannot survive without the income.

    So, sad story. But the family in my opinion has no right to the death benefits. If he were 18 or older and working in the capacity of a FF, then yes. Although I am not sure his parents are even eligible for the money in that case. I'd have to read up on it.

    I guess I am just sad that a kid is even put in a position where is life is ever in danger, whether it be riding his bike to the station or on the fireground.

  12. #32
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Fact is, he was allowed to respond to scenes.
    Actually, he was allowed to respond to the firehouse, not fire scenes.

    it should be reserved for only those who actually died while fighting a fire.
    or are capable and allowed to fight a fire.


    I have Juniors in my department. I also have an Explorer program. You can damn well bet that if the "unfortunate and terrible" happened here, you would not see me fighting for the child to be "on that wall" or getting PSOB.

    Personally, I see a difference in someone "learning" to be a firefighter and someone that has been for years. Maybe that term "firefighter" means more to some people.
    "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?

  13. #33
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    You want to defeat my analogy, then bring it.
    It was brought...and your "analogy" went down in defeat. But, please...continue to explain why a firefighter dying of a heart attack on the job makes this kid a firefighter, himself.

  14. #34
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    Our personal opinions or emotions on a 14 yr old being on the fire ground do not matter. Like the rest of you I don't think a 14 yr old should be allowed to respond to a fire call but my opinion doesn't matter. What matters is in what capacity the kid was responding, His chief and department say he was a firefighter, so he was a firefighter.

    I started fighting wildland fires when I was 14. That was 36 years ago. One of Dad's employees was a firefighter and they needed help with several grass fires started with fireworks. It was wrong to take me along but they were desperate and I was good help. Mom and Dad knew it was wrong but they didn't stop me. It was hard work but I thought it was fun. I know better now.

    Whether they were right or wrong about letting 14 yr olds fight fire is not the issue. If Chris did the job then he was a firefighter.

    Brad

  15. #35
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    Well, after readin all your posts, its obvious that some people on here are very hard-headed, which isnt a bad thing, just funny to read.

    I lived a few blocks from Brookhaven FD and have since moved to the next county over and run with my local FD. I know this, every "firefighter", however you want to describe them, at Brookhaven would sit here and tell you that Chris Kangas was a firefighter. He performed skills and activities that warrant him the title, simple as that. There is NO law that says he cannot be a Junior Firefighter. He VOLUNTEERED his time like the other firefighters. They did not labor him in the sense a work would. He willfully went to the firehouse when he had time.

    As far as skills go, I can tell you this right now, that "Junior Firefighter" had more skills than a good portion of "adult" volunteers i have met across the country. In all honesty, how many of your Departments have overweight individuals who get tired and suck down air quicker than you can fill the bottles? This kid was trained in what he did on the exterior, just like any other adult firefighter has been. He may have been 14 years old, but 14 year olds can learn, be taught and follow instructions. They are capable of comprehending and thinking. So the notion that they cant be at a fireground at 14 because of the Hazards is ludicrous, whether you realize it or not, they realize the dangers if taught, which this kid was....You people are acting like Chris doesnt realize whats going on and that "since a wall can come down, he shouldnt be outside rolling hose." Thats silly. He is probably more agile and alert than most Chiefs to be able to avoid a falling wall. There are some SLOBS in most volunteer depts across the country. Does YOUR company allow THEM in a burning building? I think that is a safety hazard for his partener. Should he be put on the LODD Wall because he was fat and couldnt escape when maybe if he was 80 lbs lighter he would have? I dont think so...

    Believe me, Delaware County Fire Departments, 99% of them, have their **** straight. That county catches more fire than many. So your notions that these CHIEFS are idiots, again is flawed. They are some of the most experienced and knowledgable firemen i know. Bill Goldfedder has many ties to Delaware County. If you dont believe me, ask him yourself. These guys know what they are doing and if that Chief felt comfortable putting Chris into the role he was in, then I would have felt comfortable with it. But I cant expect people that dont live around here to understand that part.

    Just my .02

  16. #36
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    It was brought...and your "analogy" went down in defeat. But, please...continue to explain why a firefighter dying of a heart attack on the job makes this kid a firefighter, himself.
    I've yet to see an actual refutation. Merely stating something is incorrect isn't enough. You must explain your argument. I put forth that if it's line of duty for a "firefighter" to die in support positions from heart attacks (brought on by exertion, arguably, and not fire at all,) then a kid responding to a fire (Station or no, he was responding because a fire occured. Or shall we deny LODD to back in companies en route to a station when other apparatus are out?) was on duty and the nature of his job was firefighting. You can put "junior" in front of it all you like, but apparently he was functioning as a member of the fire department.

    I have no problem in saying he shouldn't have had anything to do with responding. If he was going there just because, then it's not LODD. I'm not tied to it if evidence is presented, but none has been; the whole age thing isn't evidence, it's unsupportable drivel.

    A refutation of my analogy would go thus:

    A firefighter engaged in suppression activities or those activities which support suppression (rehab, for example) is part of the fire attack. A junior firefighter is a member of a civilian organization, let's compare them to a booster club member. Booster club members may well help carry gear or clean locker rooms, but they are not members of the football team. The Explorer programs are an adjunct to the fire department. Example: A police officer may be killed on the fireground and it would be an LODD, but it would be a police department LODD, not fire. Even if he was momentarily engaged in, say, relocating a hose or shutting off utilities. He might have died in performing fire department duties, but he was not a firefighter in the strictest sense of the word.

    I can do your job for you, but I'd much rather you make the effort to present somethign resembling debate in the future.

    Thank you, I'll be here all weekend.

  17. #37
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowbreaker View Post
    What matters is in what capacity the kid was responding, His chief and department say he was a firefighter, so he was a firefighter.
    Erm... No, actually, they don't. One of the most widely quoted statements from the department Chief refers to Kangas responding "as if" he was on duty. He is consistently referred to as a "junior firefighter" and his duties are consistently given as support away from the fireground.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowbreaker View Post
    Whether they were right or wrong about letting 14 yr olds fight fire is not the issue. If Chris did the job then he was a firefighter.
    There's no indication that he did so I guess we're in agreement: he wasn't a firefighter.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post

    Explorer programs that follow the BSA rules do pretty much exactly that.
    Actually, no they don't. The following text is from BSA's Learning for Life web site:

    One issue that requires particular attention is what the Fire and Emergency Services Explorer will be allowed to do at the emergency scene. Many departments allow Explorers to respond on the apparatus with trained personnel. A solid policy must be established as to what the Explorer may and may not do once he or she arrives on the scene.

    All policies must fit with departmental regulations, Learning for Life regulations, and state laws. All of these issues should be resolved in the post bylaws before Fire and Emergency Services Explorer activities begin. If you have any questions about the safety of an activity not listed, contact your local Learning for Life office.

    May 22, 2003


    I understand that many who post here have a very strong opinion that young people should never be allowed on a fire scene. That's fine, but you should understand that not everyone agrees with you. The bottom line is that neither your opinion or my opinion counts. What matters is the law, and a judge is the one who has the final word. As I understand the situation, Chris was functioning well within the law in PA, well within nationally recognized standards for youth programs, and well within department policy. Two judges say Chris was a firefighter. It seems to me that the debate is over. Again, keep your opinion, it's yours and you're entitled to it, just please don't try to enforce it on the rest of us.
    Last edited by Chief310; 01-23-2007 at 07:48 AM.

  19. #39
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief310 View Post
    Actually, no they don't. The following text is from BSA's Learning for Life web site:

    ....All policies must fit with departmental regulations, Learning for Life regulations, and state laws...
    Which means that Explorers cannot be placed in life threatening situations, can't operate machinery as minors, can't wear SCBA in a hazardous environment as minors, etc. Depending on their age, they can perform some limited functions that firefighters do but they can't function as "firefighters" until they are 18. At that point, most become firefighters if the opportunity is available rather than remain Explorers.

    FWIW, I'm quite familiar with how the BSA works. They don't want any of their scouts -- Explorers or otherwise -- performing hazardous tasks in uncontrolled environment. There are some things we might deem hazardous that they are allowed to train on but that doesn't mean that they are permitted to do them in the field.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Which means that Explorers cannot be placed in life threatening situations, can't operate machinery as minors, can't wear SCBA in a hazardous environment as minors, etc. Depending on their age, they can perform some limited functions that firefighters do but they can't function as "firefighters" until they are 18. At that point, most become firefighters if the opportunity is available rather than remain Explorers.

    FWIW, I'm quite familiar with how the BSA works. They don't want any of their scouts -- Explorers or otherwise -- performing hazardous tasks in uncontrolled environment. There are some things we might deem hazardous that they are allowed to train on but that doesn't mean that they are permitted to do them in the field.
    Again, I agree with everything you said here. I was only responding to your earlier post in which you quoted johnny46 - "Get rid of or revamp Explorer programs to keep them from responding at all and providing even support positions,"

    You replied, "Explorer programs that follow the BSA rules do pretty much exactly that."

    My point was that the BSA rules do not prohibit Explorers from responding with companies to scenes, or prevent them from acting in support roles. Never, not once, did I say that BSA permits Explorers to be allowed in hazardous areas, operate machinery, wear SCBA, or anything even remotely like that.

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