Some kids grow up wanting to be superheroes, police officers or firefighters. And some hold on to that dream of diving through flames to save others. The Margate Fire Rescue Explorer Program was started in 1992 to provide insight into the career opportunities in the field of fire rescue. The program was designed for anyone between the ages of 14-20 who is physically able to perform the necessary tasks of a firefighter paramedic.
“Cadets receive training in a variety of things, including CPR, search and rescue, and even hose handling,” says Explorer advisor and civilian liaison, Nancy Moser.
Aditionally all the Explorers learn first aid on a first responder level, ropes and knots, ladder techniques, handling and use of self-contained breathing apparatuses and proper use of most fire rescue equipment. After completing a three-month probationary period, cadets are permitted to ride with a Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Rescue (MCCFR) engine or rescue company. Before riding, all the cadets have earned a CPR card, have basic medical skills and exhibit the knowledge of location and use of all equipment on the vehicle on which they are riding.
“Cadets get a real feel for what it’s like to be part of the company,” says Dan Booker, interim fire chief. “It helps them decide if they want to serve the community as a firefighter or paramedic or in some other capacity in fire rescue.”
During the ride-alongs, the Explorer cadets perform the same duties as a paramedic or firefighter such as station training, apparatus and station maintenance and emergency calls.
“Cadets aren’t allowed to enter a burning building,” says Matthew Whiteshield, an Explorer advisor and firefighter. “But they still serve as important parts of the companies. They gather patient information, take vitals, set up IVs, lay hoses, salvage and overhaul, and assist the driver or engineer in their duties.”
Cadets get the unique opportunity to observe and perform with a team of fire rescue professionals during real emergency situations while still being in a safe environment. Cadets also serve the community by being part of various demonstrations and assisting with local events such as National Night Out, Veterans Day and Fourth of July. ?
Fire Rescue Explorer Program cadets meet every other Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Station 98, 5395 NW 24th Street, Margate. For more information, contact Lead Advisor Captain Adam Sitman at 954.971.7010 or [email protected].