I was greatly encouraged to see that a Boy Scout Fire Explorer Post has been established in District 13, as reported by the Cleburne News.
Fire departments in the Ranburne school district, in partnership with the Cleburne County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, have established a Fire Explorer Post to teach young people how to enter the fire service.
The Explorer Post is chartered by the Boy Scouts of America, but is open to boys and girls aged 14 to 18.
The fire departments provide guidance and oversight to these young people while teaching them the fundamentals of the fire service such as first aid, business management, and training in fire department operations.
The purpose of the Explorer Post is to expose young adults to a possible career field, and to let them learn about and participate in this selected field.
At each VFD event, I have advocated for the establishment of a ROTC-like program to train young and aspiring firefighters and first-responders within each school system. Ranburne may have provided the model from which to further develop such a program throughout the state. My vision included a coordinated effort between Boy Scouts, the local schools and boards, and the volunteer fire associations and individual fire departments.
As I wrote here,
Our Volunteer Fire Departments will serve as the platform of national security in the twenty-first century. As I have often written about the need for economic resilience, we also need resilience to the increasing threats to our basic security. A top-down manner of defense will not suffice in the oncoming years; the already existing infrastructure of our Volunteer Fire Departments provides the necessary flexibility and local proximity necessary to respond to a new generation of threats.
As is discussed in this article from Market to Market, volunteers make up the vast majority of our local firefighters. As a community, we must do a better job of not only financially supporting our local volunteer fire departments, but also increasing the opportunities for them to train for their oncoming duties, inspiring a younger generation to join their ranks, and also facilitating their ability to fully engage their responsibilities to their department.