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Altoona’s Fire Explorers Program looking for community recruits

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 11:45 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -This week the Altoona Fire Department is giving the community’s youth an opportunity to find out what being part of a station entails.

Through hands-on teaching and training, students between the ages of 12 and 21 will be given the chance to learn the ropes from Atloona’s firefighters and EMS workers on what it’s like being a first responder on any given day.

The Fire Explorer Program started in Altoona during the mid ‘90′s and at its peak, the station had around 20 explorers. Right now the department has two, so this open house Wednesday April 27 is an event to start building those numbers back up.

The Explore Program meets bimonthly, on the first two Wednesday’s of the month.

“They’re on the roster, they have assigned gear, they get uniforms, they function under the firefighters,” says CJ Mavis, Altoona Fire Department health and safety captain. “At trainings they’ll come in and play the roles of victims if we have a training event or night.”

The role of an explorer within the department also participates in community service projects, competitions, fundraisers, and other activities throughout the year.

For those interested in taking on a career in firefighting or emergency medical services, the open house takes place April 27 at 6:30 p.m.

“Maybe we’ll crawl around in our bunker gear, maybe we’ll spray water, maybe we’ll knock down a door, just hands on, learning what we do,” says Lieutenant Brett Schumacher, with Altoona Fire & Rescue. “It’s a great opportunity to see what we do and you’re able to get your hands on and especially if you’re even thinking about a career in firefighting or EMS it’s a great opportunity.”

To learn more about the Fire Explorer Program at the Altoona Fire Department, see here.

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