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Explorer Post 911


Created in the spring of 1993, the position of Fire Explorer within the Modesto Fire Department is a career awareness vehicle. Young men and women in the community who are interested in a future fire service career can have the opportunity to train and interact in a fire-service environment as a tool to help discover if this career is appropriate for them. Although this is a non-volunteer, unpaid position within the department, it is a terrific opportunity to get as "up-close and personal" to the fire service as is possible without taking the actual firefighter entry exam.


Program Description

The Fire Explorer program consists of a minimum of twice-monthly classroom activities held at the Regional Fire Training Center, where instruction is offered by Modesto Fire Department personnel in the various subjects relating to department operations and functions such as emergency breathing apparatus, first-aid, hoselines, ladders, protective clothing, rescue and other pertinent department subjects. The class schedule is year-round and consists of various "hands-on" operations. The department provides full protective safety gear (turnouts) during these events.

After an initial "orientation period", during which the selected explorer candidate is given basic information on department operations, the process known as 'station assignment' or 'ride-along' begins. This consists of the fire explorer candidate being assigned to a selected fire station every month for a pre-determined time period wherein he/she works alongside department personnel in non-emergency activities such as station maintenance, hydrant servicing, training, and public relations. The fire explorer candidate can ride on the assigned apparatus to emergency incidents, but must remain an observer only. The fire explorer candidate is evaluated during each station assignment by a company officer. Unsatisfactory evaluations can lead to disciplinary actions such as reduced station time or dismissal in extreme cases.

The Modesto Fire Explorer Post is very involved with department public relations programs and projects. These public interactions require a "duty uniform:, the expense of which is the responsibility of the explorer candidate. These uniform consists of designated steel toe leather boots, navy blue pants, black leather belt, navy blue shirt, navy blue dress shirt, black tie/tie bar, and monogrammed navy blue jacket. A badge identification is provided by the Post and participation in fund raiser to help reduce expenses and purchase needed materials is expected. As a sub-agency of the fire department, each explorer candidate must realize and be aware that their presence and actions as an explorer reflect upon the image and reputation of the Modesto Fire Department and inappropriate behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.

Click here to see the training.

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Program Requirements

Attendance is mandatory for all classroom activities, public events, station assignments and other actions deemed appropriate by department personnel. A set amount of class absences is permitted by program policy. Absence beyond that amount allowed, results in disciplinary measures such as reduction in station assignment time or dismissal from the program in severe situations.

Education is a key component in developing a successful fire service career. Gaining additional knowledge and training to better one's self cannot be overemphasized or taken too lightly.

  • Minimum age of 16 at the time of appointment. Candidate must leave program by their 21st birthday.
  • Minimum grade point average (G.P.A.)- All Modesto Fire Explorer Post 911 members shall maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.0 ("C' average) or better at all times while engaged in the program.
  • Grades will be reviewed by command staff at the close of fall and spring semesters.
  • If a Modesto Fire Explorer Post 911 member fails to achieve the minimum G.P.A. as required, he/she shall be prohibited from all station assignments during the following semester. If grades return to satisfactory status during the next semester, station assignment status returns to normal If below-minimum semester grades occur consecutively, explorer shall immediately be considered for termination.
  • If a Modesto Fire Explorer member has graduated from high school, but fails to enroll at an institution of higher education. he/she shall forfeit station assignment duty for that semester. Two (2) consecutively missed semester shall cause the explorer member to be immediately considered for termination. Although not required, command staff highly recommend Explorer members be enrolled in at least one (1) fire-science related course each semester.
  • Height proportionate to weight
  • Good health (in lieu of a physical agility test, Explorer candidates must, prior to appointment, submit proof of successful physical exam by physician)
  • No felony convictions
  • Reside within Stanislaus County
  • Financial ability to obtain the Post-required uniform ($240 estimated)

A yearly registration fee, payable upon appointment to the Post, provides liability insurance coverage through the Boy Scouts of America. This is designed as a back-up policy to an individual's private insurance. This policy covers the the Explorer member while he/she is engaged in Department authorized events.

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Application Process

In an effort to make this program a springboard to the actual firefighter entry test, the Explorer application process is designed to mirror the same requirements. The procedure consists of written application, written exam, oral interview, background check, and successful physical exam (if appointed).

  • Written Application - Incomplete, unsigned, or illegible information on the written application shall be considered failure of the application process.
  • Written Exam - A comprehensive written exam shall be given. Subjects that may be covered include math, reading comprehension, mechanical aptitude and chemistry.
  • Oral Interview - Candidates who are successful in the written exam will be invited to an oral board presentation. The oral interview constitutes the majority of the overall grade given.
  • Background Check - Employees/representatives of the Modesto Fire Department must be above reproach or question of trust. Therefore, a background check may be considered for applicants who are successful in both the written exam and oral interview.
  • Physical Exam - Prior to appointment, the explorer candidate must secure a signed document from his/her physician stating that said individual's health status would not prohibit him/her from engaging in strenuous, extended physical exertion.

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