Explorers gear up for firefighting competition - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Explorers gear up for firefighting competition

January 20, 2006

Valdosta - If your home caught fire and these young people responded to the call, they could certainly do the job. "Our whole purpose is to prepare these young people and give them a taste of what the fire service is like," said Ken Carter.

They call themselves Explorers, young people between the ages of 14 and 21 getting a jump start on a career in firefighting. "Everything we do here is a simulation of things they'll actually be doing if they take a job in firefighting," said Carter.

They've learned everything from how to get suited up in less than two minutes, to raising and climbing ladders properly, and controlling water supply. Next week, all those skills will be put to the test at the Winterfest Competition in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They'll compete against 3,000 other explorers to see who's the best in quick dress, ladder raising, and relay task operations.

Along with teaching them the many facets of firefighting, they're also learning some valuable life skills and something that will be vital in firefighting or most any job, teamwork. "You can't fight a fire with one person, you can't, and if you have four people running around, it just might as well be one person," said Kessel.

Hopefully all this practice will pay off and they'll bring home the title from the competition next week. But no matter where they rank, they've learned the skills they need to start a successful career in firefighting.

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