The City of Cape Girardeau Fire Department’s Explorer Post is for 15- to 20-years-olds who want to learn firefighting basics.
The post is chartered through the St. Louis Boy Scouts, but no prior experience with the Boy Scouts is required to join the Post. Those who are out of high school need to have a diploma or GED. Explorer Post members must pay an annual fee of $25. The group meets every other Thursday twice a month.
“We always welcome new kids. We top off at 15. We’ve room for five more,” said Cape Girardeau Firefighter Taylor McLaughlin, who recently took over the Post.
Members get an experience similar to going through a firefighting academy. They learn about equipment and how to use it, such as the self-contained breathing apparatus.
“It’s a very softened version of fire academy, essentially,” McLaughlin said. “Fire academy is more directed toward every single skill in firefighting, whereas this is a lot of the skills of the firefighting but we also try to incorporate a lot more of team building exercises. It’s more of learning to work as a team and learning to communicate.”
McLaughlin said he will try to schedule a live fire scenario for the post at least once a year. Members are allowed to ride with Fire Department crews on calls after six months in the Explorer Post and with the Fire Department’s permission.
“If they are proficient and know where they stuff is then they are a much larger asset to us on the fire scene,” McLaughlin said. “They can help change SCBA bottles and get tools and things like that. They stay out of danger obviously, but they can be an asset to us on-scene if they know where the proper tools are and they know how to operate them.”
The post will hold an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, April 20 at Beef O’Brady’s at 1812 Carondalet Drive. Tickets are $6 at the door, $3 of which will go to the Explorer Post. Proceeds will go to new uniforms.
For more information, contact the Cape Girardeau Fire Department at 573-339-6330.