Peach County Fire Department's Explorer program benefits kids and department

Peach County Fire Department's Explorer program benefits kids and department. Claudia Coco / WGXA News

PEACH COUNTY, Ga -- A nationwide program, called the Explorer's program is getting high schoolers interested in firefighting. The Peach County Fire Department has the Explorer Program and has found it to be not only beneficial for the kids, but for them as well.

It was love at first visit for Explorer Program member James Jones.

"It was my friend," said Jones. "I was staying the night at his house, and he said that he was going to the fire station the next day, and I just went with him, and I fell in love with it ever since."

Jones said the program taught him about teamwork and gave him close friends. He said the program inspired him to work on an ambulance when he graduated high school.

"When I come back in a few years, I do plan on volunteering," Jones said.

Sergeant Jonathan Burgasser said these kids get a lot of the same training professional firefighters get.

"They go through doing a lot of the same stuff from doing rapid dressing, putting on bunker gear because they all have their own bunker gear, so they'll be responsible for helping us check trucks out in the mornings, when they're on shift with us," Sergeant Burgasser said.

He said the program isn't just a good opportunity for the kids.

"The most rewarding thing is actually to watch them grow through the process," Burgasser said. "You see them when they first come in as a young kid, and the reward from that is being able to see them grow and become future firefighters."

The Explorer program also acts as a recruitment tool for a mostly volunteer fire department.

"We've had a bunch of them that have stayed local, stayed local, stayed volunteers," Burgasser said. "We have one that's a full time with us right now."

If you have a teenager that is 14 to 18-years-old and are interested in joining, the Peach County Explorers Program is having an information meeting on Monday night at 6:30 PM at Peach County Fire Station six.

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