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Fire Explorer Post #888

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I found Lincoln Fire and Rescue's Explorer Program to be the deciding factor in my determination to become a career firefighter. By participating in the program I was able to learn about aspects of the fire service beyond the lights and sirens. Besides learning about putting out fires, we learned about all the duties and responsibilities of the fire service. Through the program, I was able to make an informed decision when I chose to become a Firefighter with Lincoln Fire and Rescue.

One of the greatest aspects of the fire service is the vast diversity of the job. It is a career which is very dynamic and changes on a day to day basis. Also, you have the ability to participate in the many different programs of Lincoln Fire and Rescue. Once an apprenticed firefighter, I participated on the Hazardous Materials Response Team. While on the team, in addition to my firefighting duties, I responded to hazardous material emergencies. I continue to be a Hazardous Materials Response Team member today. Recognizing that Lincoln Fire and Rescue was taking a very proactive role in Emergency Medical Services and would be a tremendous part of EMS in the future, I took advantage of the opportunity to become a Firefighter/Paramedic. I then took a promotional exam and was promoted to the position of Fire Captain. I worked in the training division as a hazardous materials instructor and weapons of mass destruction coordinator for our urban search and rescue team. I then transferred out of the Training Division and am currently the Captain of Engine 9 at Station 9 in the Bethany area of Lincoln. I am also the Accreditation Manager for the department. This endeavor allows me to make positive changes to the organization by evaluating the performance of the organization in comparison of other fire and rescue departments. I also participate as an accreditation assessor for department internationally.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue is the sponsoring agency for one of the Federal Emergency Management Agencies elite Urban Search and Rescue Teams, Nebraska Task Force 1. I entered the program early in my career as a Rescue Specialist and eventually became one of the first Canine Search Specialists in Nebraska with my Chocolate Labrador Ren. I have been deployed to national disasters such as Hurricane Opal, DeBruce Grain elevator explosion, World Trade Center Collapse, Salt Lake City Olympics, and the Columbia Shuttle Disaster, Greensburg Tornado, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I currently serve on the task force as Rescue Team Manager and Search Team Manager.

I have the greatest job in the world, it is exciting, challenging, and ever changing. Best of all, it gives me the training and opportunity to make a positive impact in my community. By participating in the Explorer Program I was able to determine that working for Lincoln Fire and Rescue was right for me. This is an excellent program for the young adult interested in this type of career.

- Captain Eric Jones, Lincoln Fire & Rescue (04/2010)

Firefighter, Eric Jones

Firefighter, Eric Jones

As a former Lincoln Fire Explorer Post #888 member, I would strongly recommend any young person with an interest in the fire service to join the post. There are many things that a young person can do that will assist them in becoming a professional firefighter. Someone pursuing a career in firefighting needs to be involved in the community, involved with the fire department, gain experience and knowledge of the fire service, and have a positive attitude among other things. The explorer post gave me the opportunity to do these things.

The Lincoln Fire Explorer Post gave me the chance to see firsthand what being a firefighter was about. Participating in different trainings ranging from tying knots to actual fire burns gave me a perspective of how Lincoln Fire operates as a department. By far the greatest opportunity of the explorer post was being able to ride along for a full 24-hour shift. This allowed me to go on actual emergency calls with the firefighters and see what other activities go on during a work shift.

Once I became a Lincoln firefighter, I realized the many different avenues for diversity, specialized training, and career advancement. Emergency medical services are a large part of the fire service, and I had the opportunity to be assigned as a firefighter/EMT-B on one of Lincoln Fire & Rescue's ambulances. I also joined the hazardous materials team, which made me a more diverse firefighter. Currently, I am a Fire Apparatus Operator on Engine 4.

I believe being a member of Lincoln Fire Explorer Post #888 for three years helped me to achieve my goal as not only being a professional firefighter, but a Lincoln firefighter. I would encourage any young person with an interest in the fire service to join the explorer post.

- Jesse Theiler, Lincoln Fire Department (04/2010)

Firefighter, Jesse Theiler

The Lincoln Fire Department Explorer program is nothing short of excellent. The post gave me an exceptional insight of the day to day tasks and duties of a firefighter. I cannot think of any better program that has let young adults actually experience what a career in helping others is all about. Explorers learn dedication, leadership, confidence, and the ability to work with others. I have found these traits have helped me in my career and as a positive member of my community. But most of all the post was a chance to meet with other positive kids and have fun!

- Jeff Topil, Lincoln Fire Department

Firefighter, Jeff Topil

Firefighter, Jeff Topil

Through my experience with the Lincoln Fire Explorer Post 888, I learned many firefighting skills. As a young scout, we had the opportunity to do several tasks that professional firefighters perform. We entered smoked filled rooms with full gear including SCBA and performed search and rescue operations. We had hands on experience with equipment on engine and truck companies. One of the best parts of being a fire explorer was the opportunity to ride with a Lincoln fire rig for 24 hours. After riding with Lincoln fire it assured me more that this was what I wanted to do as a career. The explorer post is a chance for young future firefighters to learn more about the job. The Lincoln Fire Explorer Post is one of the best programs around. It includes great leaders and a supportive fire department.

- Bob Watton, Lincoln Fire Department

Firefighter, Bob Watton

Firefighter, Bob Watton

I believe that my past experiences with the Fire Explorer Post 888 helped me out with my career as a firefighter. It gave me the insight to what firefighters do and how their day is worked. Also with the ride-along program, it helped me to see if I would be able to stomach the job. I had a chance to see some of the not so desirable things that firefighters see on bad accidents. So I knew that I could handle that aspect. I would say that my time on Explorer Post 888 was very rewarding and a valuable learning experience. I would recommend it to any teenager looking at firefighting as their profession.

- Dave West, Lincoln Fire Department

Firefighter, Dave West

Firefighter, Dave West

The Fire Explorer Post has helped me learn how to work as a part of a team. Also it has helped me in learning to trust other people with my life during an incident. The skills that I have learned have helped me in my current career. It has given me an insight of what really goes on in a fire station during a normal working day.

During my ride time with the Lincoln Fire Department I experienced a wide variety of emergencies and learned how they deal with them. Working with the explorer post has only furthered my interests in becoming a certified firefighter and has given me the goal to become a Lincoln Firefighter someday.

Currently I am employed with American Medical Response in Denver Colorado on a Flex Paramedic Ambulance. I have been in Denver for over a year now and have been apart in starting an explorer post here in Denver to continue the education and further the interest in young people in the medical field.

- Joshua Noxon, American Medical Responce - Denver Operations

Nate Trauernicht I joined Lincoln Fire Department Explorer Post 888 shortly after my fourteenth birthday. I remember thinking how lucky I was to finally be able to experience, and be a part of, the career path that I had dreamed of taking part in since I was just a little kid. Fire Explorers gave me countless valuable experiences ranging from hands-on fire service training, to lessons in leadership, and friendship. The Post provided a launching platform for me to network with others who had the same career vision that I did and with people throughout the fire department who have stood behind me to help me achieve my goals. I learned the value of motivated leadership and earning the trust of my peers. But the most important thing that I took away from LFD and Post 888 is people that I can count as friends for a life-time.

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering, Nate Trauernicht I went on to get a Masters degree in Public Administration. I have been blessed to have a career that has spanned the country and many facets of the fire service profession. I stay involved as a member of the IAFCís Human Relations Committee, the President of the California Fire Chiefs Associationís Operations Chiefs Section, and as a Command Staff member on a Cal Fire Type I Incident Management Team. In 2010 I was granted the Chief Fire Officer Designation (CFO) from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and Member status with the Institute of Fire Engineers (MIFireE).

I am currently the Interim Fire Chief for the University of California - Davis Fire Department.

Joining the Lincoln Fire Explorers was one of the best decisions I've ever made and would recommend it to anyone who has the ambition to join the fire service.

- Nathan Trauernicht, UC Davis Fire Department (04/2010)

For more information about Exploring contact the Cornhusker Council, BSA

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Explorer Post #888