MUSCATINE, Iowa–As high school students and young adults, young people have a lot of career options to consider, and nothing helps them make wise choices for their future like hands on experiences. To allow young adults to see if a career in fire and emergency medical services could suit them, the Muscatine Fire Department reinstated their Explorer Post and held their first meeting Feb. 24.
Originally, the Muscatine Fire Department started its Explorer Post in 2001 and has hosted it on and off as interest in it has waxed and waned. However, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman shared that the energy surrounding the Explorer Post has increased and he expects it to only grow moving forward. “We had a couple youth reach out to our department asking about this type of a program, and once we looked internally for someone to lead the group we were met with a lot of enthusiasm,” he shared. “Ben Barrett and six other firefighters stepped up – that is the largest group of leaders we have ever had.” Due to an increase in the amount of curriculum available to Explorer Posts, Hartman also thinks leaders will have an easier time finding and adapting materials to suit the interests of the young people involved.
To allow participants to get the most out of their experiences, the Explorer Post leaders will tailor the activities they do to match the interests of everyone involved. Typically, the Explorer Post will meet twice a month, with one meeting looking at a firefighting topic and one meeting focusing on emergency medicine. Meetings will involve both classroom learning experiences and hands on components that get more and more realistic as participants gain experience: “Many of the firefighter activities will be based on national certification standards. EMS activities will reflect national standards as well,” detailed Hartman. “I expect that before long there will be scenario nights where the hands-on skills learned will be put to the test in a lifelike situation.”
Through regular meetings, which will take place on the first and third Sundays of the month at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, Hartman hopes participants will find out for themselves if a career in firefighting or emergency medicine could work for them. “This program will allow our youth to explore some very rewarding career options so they can make good solid decisions based on real life experiences,” he emphasized.
By showing area youth all that a career with the Muscatine Fire Department has to offer, Hartman also thinks young people who want to go into fire or emergency medicine will consider staying in Muscatine and helping their home community thrive. “Hiring employees who live in Muscatine makes not only the transition to certain aspects of the position easier (such as knowing where businesses are or what challenges may be in a certain area), it is more likely we will have people who live in Muscatine and become more embedded in the community as a whole,” he observed.
The Muscatine Fire Department’s Explorer Post encourages any young people between the ages of 14 and 21 to come check out one of their meetings and to see for themselves what a career as a first responder could offer them. Anyone wanting more information may email Hartman or Barrett.