The Newberry Fire Department is working to encourage, mentor and train local youth.
The Department started a Learning for Life Explorer program through the Boy Scouts of America in 1998 and established Fire Explorer Post 2119.
The explorers meet once a month at the Wilson Road Whitaker Fire Department to discuss fire department practices and to train to be firefighters and help on the scenes.
In fact, several of the explorers have recently passed a 90 hour fire course at the S.C. Fire Academy. They took the course on the weekends over a four month period. While the members are under the age of 18, they still received a certificate for the training but when they turn 18 they will be certified to be firefighters. The state law says a person can not be a firefighter until the age of 18.
In addition to learning about being a firefighter, the youth also help with projects around the station and special events such as the annual fishing rodeo and local festivals.
They also travel to the explorer conference in Tennessee and will be going to the firemen’s annual meeting at Myrtle Beach.
The explorers can not answer fire calls but do train at the fire departments “Rat House” training facility.
They also help do chores around the fire department on weekends, after school and during the summer.
Over the years a number of youth that have gone through the local explorer program have gone on to become both firefighters with the city and at other departments.
The explorer program locally is coordinated by fire engineers Brian Beck, R.J. Dowd, Andrew Morris, Ron Roberts and Lt. Gene Shealy. Beck serves as the post adviser, or chairman, and Morris is responsible for scheduling meetings, coordinating trainings and managing the post’s Facebook page.
Recently the group was recognized by Newberry City Council, who praised the group for its efforts.
For more information on the post, contact the Newberry Fire Department at 321-1030.