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HVFD Explorers club recruiting new youth members

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter
Explorers Club instructor and Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Frank Stover (left) demonstrates the use of a fire hydrant June 20 to Jackson Ludwig (kneeling), as Explorers Matt McCloud and Trevor Smith observe. Courtesy photo

Area boys and girls ages 10 and older are invited to “join” the Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department, through the HVFD’s Explorers Post/Club #800.

As club members, the youths receive an up-close, on-site look at how firefighters and emergency medical service first responders perform their professional duties, occasionally in real-life emergency scenarios.

Explorers Chairman Tiffany Reed explained that the HVFD hosts the program, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, which takes place year-round.

“We do basic fire service and EMS things to let the kids understand what we actually do, before we put them in the line of duty,” said Reed, who is also the HVFD Recruitment and Retention Coordinator. “They can’t technically join the fire department until they’re 16 or become active members until they’re 18, but the earlier we start the training, the better.”

She said Explorer members are welcome from any area, as long as they are at least in sixth grade.

Post #800 members also have the opportunity to train as the pros do, without being placed at risk in dangerous environments or hazardous situations.

“During junior member mentorship, they can do everything besides make runs on fire trucks or go inside an active fire. We can take you on calls and stuff, but you can’t run into burning buildings,” Reed said.

The Explorers Post/Club has approximately a dozen members at present, she said, noting that it has drawn interest from both sexes since beginning at the HVFD in November 2015.

“We actually had one female who joined as an Explorer who has switched over to the junior firefighter program. We’ve also had a few of the kids from the Putnam Career and Technical Center who’ve joined, who just want to get more training.”

Last week, the Explorers joined HVFD members to hook up water from a hydrant as a rescue drill (and to cool off with the water and operate the fire hoses). They have also gone to scenes of vehicle accidents to learn proper extraction procedures.

“We do a lot of the EMS side of it, with first aid and CPR,” Reed said.

She added that the club teaches more than just hands-on emergency training.

“The main thing is team leadership and responsibility -- making sure you question yourself to make the right calls in a time of need. You get the experience of thinking fast on your feet and working well in stressful situations. It helps kids out a lot in this generation now.”

The club also offers a preview of -- and preparation for -- a potential firefighting career for its charges.

“It teaches the kids a lot before they have to go out and do everything. The more training they have, the better volunteer firefighters we’re going to have. And they have the possibility of going out and making a career of it.

“We love having the ability to keep the community safe and train the next generation,” Reed said.

The Explorers Post/Club #800 meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at the Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department station at 2716 Main St. in Hurricane.

To find out more about the HVFD Explorers program or to enroll, call Tiffany Reed at 304-562-5663, ext. 4, or send email correspondence to info@hurricanefire.com


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