The Ross Valley Fire Department Explorer program began in 1982 during the merger of the San Anselmo and Fairfax Fire Departments. After a period of inactivity in the early 90's the post was reestablished in 1993 by Fire Captains Dave Stasiowski and Mark Weston. The post is thriving today due to the hard work of department personnel and the support of the Fire Chief and the Board of Directors.
The Explorer Post is a division of The Boy Scouts of America. Ross Valley Fire Department is chartered through the Boy Scouts to have an Explorer post within the department. The Boy Scouts provide the structure and support necessary for a successful program, and Ross Valley Fire Department provides the staffing and technical information to allow young adults to explore the fire service as a career opportunity.
The purpose of the Explorer Post, in addition to the mission of the Boy Scouts of America, is to provide a positive environment which promotes the involvement of young adults in the communities of Ross, San Anselmo, Sleepy Hollow and Fairfax.
One of the most important aspects of the Explorer program is the training that the Explorers receive and the skills they develop over the period of their enrollment. The Ross Valley Fire Department strives to bring the Explorers to a higher level of training by putting them through training exercises that would push even some seasoned firefighters to the limit of their knowledge as well as their manipulative skills. Some of the training exercises include pulling hose lines, raising ladders, as well as fire line construction and wildland fire fighting hose lays. The most demanding, as well as the most enjoyable, for the Explorers (and paid staff as well) is the use of the Ross Valley Fire Departments Mobile Live Fire Trainer. In 2002 the Ross Valley Fire Department received a Fire Act grant for a mobile live fire trainer which can simulate many different types of interior firefighting scenarios, including first and second floor firefighting. The roof of the trainer features a ventilation prop which can utilize the smoke machines inside the trainer as well as the gas burners bellow.
The training guidelines are established in the Ross Valley Fire Department Explorer training manual. Explorers are trained and tested in both manipulative and academic skills. The Explorers are required to train approximately 4 hours per week, not including special assignments. Upon completion of Level 1 training, the Explorers will be able to ride along on the engine company responding to all types of emergency incidents. The more training and skills an Explorer acquires, the greater the responsibility during emergency incidents.
Ross Valley Fire Department Explorer program encourages enthusiastic, inquisitive and civic-minded young adults who are willing to commit time and energy to the program. There is no salary or pay given to the Explorers, but the volunteer experience and knowledge gained is without comparison.
Since 1994 the Ross Valley Fire Department has hired four former Explorers as full-time, professional firefighters. In addition, many of the Explorers have become seasonal fire fighters with Marin County Fire Department and CAL Fire; while others have become full-time firefighters and successful employees in private industry.
Is there an age requirement to join the explorers?
Yes, between 16 – 21 years.
When are the drills/meetings/training?
Every weekend. Usually scheduled for Sundays, however can be changed due to scheduling conflicts.
Is there a residency requirement?
No, however local students are given priority.
Is there a school requirement?
Yes, explorer must maintain a “C” average.
Is there any cost involved to become an explorer?
Yes, new Explorers must purchase firefighter "station" boots.
How do I become an explorer?
An application must be completed; oral Interview; release of liability must be signed; background check.
Are there other explorer posts in the area?
Yes, there are other posts in Marin County (Marin County Fire Department, Novato Fire District). Check the California Fire Explorer website - www.cfea.net - for other post locations.