The Explorers Program is one that allows youth from age 14-21 to get involved in the fire service. Some departments also have Junior Firefighters, which is much the same.
The Explorer post with our department meets every Tuesday night(our fire department’s meeting/drill night is Wednesday) and is led by one of the firefighters as an adviser. They do drills for skills needed as firefighters. Last month they even did a masked maze that simulates what it would be like inside a house full of smoke and fire. They get the training they need to be able to go in and fight a fire.
However, they are not allowed to do that yet. They are allowed on the firegrounds, but only under certain conditions. They can’t enter a structure unless it’s deemed stable(no firefighter can enter until they have certain certification). They can only enter after the initial attack and search and can’t perform life-saving tasks or rescue. There are also some rules as to when they can respond to calls during the school year.
Neither of my kids are old enough to join the Explorers yet. Even though my daughter is older, I have a feeling it will be the boy who would be the first to join(and no, nothing to do with her being a girl. More her personality). We already hear nearly everyday, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a firefighter.”