are the zone 3 fire explorers a VOLUNTEER-BASED organization?
YES. The Zone 3 Fire Explorer program is entirely made-up of volunteers who dedicate their own time to ensuring our mission is obtainable. The Zone 3 Fire Explorers have Advisors who are Fire and Emergency service professionals (Firefighters and EMTs), and also civilian Advisors (parents and retired).
I am a parent or firefighter/emt. How do i become an advisor?
If you are a parent, we recommend you attend at least two consecutive meetings, then speak with one of the post Advisors in attendance. They can give you all the information you need to apply.
If you are a Fire and Emergency service professional and hired by one of our four sponsoring fire agencies (Puget Sound RFA, Tukwila FD, Renton RFA, or Maple Valley FD), you can ask the lead department Advisor about the application process. You can contact us if you do not know who they are. You can also contact us if you are not apart of the four sponsoring fire agencies, but would like to get involved ... we'd love to have you on board.
are the explorers actually dispatched to fire calls? HOW DOES THAT WORK?
YES. After satisfactory completion of the probationary training, Explorers may then become apart of the group of 'dispatchable' Explorers. Explorers and Advisors are assigned a pager, and added to the programs mobile dispatch list.
Each call through the Valley Communications Center (the Regional 9-1-1 Center for South King County) is monitored 24/7 ... if an incident is deemed to need our assistance, or we are requested, the available Explorers and Advisors will be dispatched. Here is an peek at what a call may look like:
Can I bring family and/or friends to meetings or events?
Yes, with limitations. The Zone 3 Fire Explorer program is committed to community engagement, and we always encourage family and friends to get involved. If parents would like to become more associated, we recommend they consider becoming an Advisor. If friends show interest, encourage them to apply!
I'm to young/old to join ... what should I do?
Due to the regulations set in place by the Boy Scouts of America, we require all Explorers to be between the ages of 14 - 21 to apply. If you are not yet of age, we recommend you continue your passion for helping those in need by volunteering with a parent in your community until the time comes to apply. That being said, you can always reach out to us to demonstrate your interest.
If you are over 21, we recommend you look into volunteer or wildland firefighter opportunities in your region. This is the next step for many Explorers who "age-out" of the program but intend to fill the boots of career Firefighters.
Here are all the volunteer firefighting opportunities within 15 miles of SeaTac, WA:
what if i later realize fire and emergency services no longer interest me?
No worries. The skills you learn as a Zone 3 Fire Explorer are adaptable to whatever career or opportunity you wish to pursue. The limits of your commitment to the Fire Service is up to you ... we encourage you to pursue your passion, whatever it may be.
Can i receive volunteer hours through the program?
YES. Keep track of your volunteer hours on the required form provided by your school or workplace, and bring it to an Advisor to sign-off after each meeting or event. Active participation in the program and attendance for each of the meetings/events will have to be confirmed in order for the form to be signed-off.
As an explorer, what are my responsibilities?
There are many ... much to many to highlight in the FAQ. In broad terms, the Zone 3 Fire Explorer program never hesitates to provide opportunity, and those opportunities breed responsibility. There are many aspects of an Explorers commitment that warrants leadership both of oneself and others, whether that be during probation, during a response, or in the fire station. Take a look at our Rules and Regulations for specific responsibilities.
How strict is the program? How are disciplinary actions handled?
The Zone 3 Fire Explorer program is held to a superior standard because of our mission, values, and the agencies/communities we represent. We run a tight ship, but not on an paramilitary level. We have fun, but our responsibilities, education, and training take priority. If disciplinary action needs to be taken, it can result in a warning and can escalate to potential suspension, significant restriction of responsibilities/opportunities or termination of membership. Confidentiality with any and all members will be adhered to. Take a look at our Rules and Regulations for specifics.
I have specific physical health preconditions which may PROHIBIT me from taking part in some activities. Can I still join?
It depends. We understand certain medical conditions are out of your control, but your safety is our highest priority. If a letter from your doctor stating you are able to meet our physical requirements without harm can be provided, and you and your parents are confident in your physical ability and safety, will encourage you to apply. If accepted, we will constantly work with you to ensure your safety is taken into consideration with certain activities.
What is the general time commitment?
To be considered an active member of the program, we require attendance at at least two meetings and two events a month. Each meeting is three hours, once a week, and events can range from one hour to overnight, with the amount of events fluctuating from month to month. If an Explorer is dispatchable, calls could be anytime of the day, anytime of the week, and anytime of the year, but we leave it to Explorers to make the judgement if they should respond or not based on their location relative to the call and if they are available. In our program, family comes first; education second; and the Post third.
I am too far away to be in the program, but would love to be a fire explorer. What should I do?
The Zone 3 Fire Explorers are not the only explorer program out there. We have listed a few other programs below that might be of interest, which may be closer to you.
I AM READY TO APPLY. WHERE DO I START?
First, drop-in for two consecutive meetings, and see how it goes. Speak with Explorers and Advisors, involve yourself as much as possible, and form your own interpretation of our mission, values, and ethics. When you're ready to commit, visit the 'APPLY' page to get started with enrollment. Print and complete all the necessary documents by our next meeting at Station 46 in SeaTac. Your application will be reviewed, and if accepted, you will receive a response by email and phone from your new company officer. You will then be issued your respective gear/equipment, and begin your probationary period as a Zone 3 Fire Explorer.
The Zone 3 Fire Explorers DO NOT RESPOND TO EVERY FIRE IN THE ZONE 3 JURISDICTION. WHY IS THAT?
For one, not every fire requires a rehab unit. Some fires, such as one-alarm fires, can be dissolved within half-an-hour. The Zone 3 Fire Explorers are primarily dispatched to multiple-alarm fires or larger scale incidents that would exhaust firefighters and their resources quicker. ... so it depends on the call. In addition, we are not the primary rehab unit in Zone 3: the King County Fire District 20 (Skyway/Bryn-Mawr) Rehab-1 unit is. If they are unavailable, out-of-service, or already dispatched to another fire, the Zone 3 Fire Explorers are then considered for dispatch.
there are five wednesdays in certain calendar months THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. what do Explorers do on the fifth wednesday, if there is one?
If there is a fifth Wednesday, we dedicate that time to a social event. The social is completely optional, but gives Explorers an organized opportunity to become more invested and engaged in each other. In the past, the social has ranged from a fire station tour at the Port of Seattle Fire Department to ice skating with police explorers.
Our program has a rich history. If you have stories, photos, or commentary you want to share, feel free to send it our way.