Sunderland Fire Explorers want to spark interest in youngsters

First meeting set for Tuesday at 6 p.m.

  • Keith McFarland, a firefighter at the Sunderland Fire Department, assists fellow firefighter Ricky Fadus, with putting on a cold water immersion suit in the truck bay during an open house last week. Recorder/Matt Burkhartt

  • Ricky Fadus, a firefighter at the Sunderland Fire Department puts on a cold water immersion suit in the truck bay during an open house Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Visitors to the Sunderland Fire Department during their open house, walk around some of the trucks in the bay, Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

For the Gazette
Tuesday, April 05, 2016

SUNDERLAND — If firefighters were grown like vegetables, Fire Explorers programs would sell the seeds.

The Sunderland Fire Department has started Explorer Post 35 to spark an interest in young men and women who may want to pursue firefighting. A joint effort between the department and the Boys Scouts of America’s Learning for Life program, the post is open to anyone 14 to 20 years of age, regardless of where they live.

Firefighter Rick Fadus said Explorer Post 35 started as an idea he and McLellan White, a firefighter and emergency medical technician, came up with at a monthly meeting of the Sunderland Volunteer Firemen’s Association. An open house was recently at the Sunderland Fire Department.

“It’s a way for high school students to get involved in the fire service and try to see if this is something they want to do,” Fadus said.

White said he joined the junior firefighter program at the Sunderland Fire Department when he was 15. He said this was difficult to do because he has a shy personality, and he hopes Fire Explorers Post 35 will appeal to interested young people who may be too timid to approach a fire department.

Fadus explained Explorers will be trained in the exterior operations of a fire scene. They will “help with hoses, any sort of activity that helps get the other firefighters moving,” he said.

He added that Explorers will learn everything from firefighting basics to what to do after a fire is extinguished.

Fagus said the program is aimed at helping young people decide if they wish to someday attend the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy or perhaps tailor their college courses around a potential career in fire science.

“It’s a great program,” Fadus said. “I wish there were more opportunities like it and I hope it takes off.”