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The program was developed September of 2013 and implemented in April 2014. The program goal is to provide an opportunity for youth ages 14-20 to gain public safety knowledge through education, training, and exposure in helping emergency response organizations better serve their communities. Fire explorer youth help all communities by promoting public safety through youth interested in emergency response and public service. The program’s vision is helping to bridge the communication gap of delivering public safety messages of prevention and preparedness, while also building stronger community relations and department capabilities.

Organizationally, public service departments must keep Community Risk Reduction initiatives and recruitment of youth that can deliver the message of fire prevention and life safety education focused toward the future as a part of succession planning. The Fire Explorers program has the potential to grow and cultivate the message and mission of The Philadelphia Fire Department regarding public safety. Recruitment and fire prevention strategies are at the forefront of continuing to build stronger community relations and department capabilities. In order for our fire service community to become more adaptive to the ever-changing population, economic transition, and cultural transformation; it is beneficial for the department to evaluate methods used by private, public and public safety agencies in developing a foundation in youth that can become more effective in delivering the mission and message of public safety and emergency preparedness.

In creating the Philadelphia Fire Department Explorers post-1873, the Philadelphia Fire Explorers has been able to create a worksite-based program that will provide youth the opportunity to follow the Explorer motto, “Our best today for a better tomorrow.”

The PFD Fire Explorer Program provides a solid foundation for youth who are considering a career in fire or EMS services. Graduates of the Fire Explorer program will possess general knowledge of fire suppression, have basic first aid and CPR qualifications, are members of community emergency response teams, and can relate to the ever-changing environments challenging our communities today. The Explorers are trained to work in diverse communities providing fire and life safety education in various formats, such as door to door smoke alarm installations and home safety surveys, community events, and school career days.

The Fire Explorers program is designed to provide fire service training while building character, teaching responsibility, and developing personal fitness. The program activities center on six experience areas: career, leadership, service, social interaction, fitness, and preventative education (fire and life safety prevention). The six experience areas will be relayed by mentoring, classroom instruction and hands-on training.

The Fire Explorers program has been organized into post-1873 and is supported by grants, businesses, industries and community organizations. The professional staff of The Philadelphia Fire Department oversee and support the Exploring activities of Fire Explorers post 1873. A key element of exploring is that the young people themselves run the organization, with adults serving in an advisory capacity. 

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