This segment is part of a series on the Boy Scouts’ Exploring for Life’s career education program arranged through the Scouts’ Exploring Executive Katie Grana.
KMOV-TV News 4 anchor/reporter Andre Hepkins showed up with his photographer at Hazelwood’s Fire Station #2 this week to do interviews and to videotape the Explorers in action. He did brief interviews with Battalion Chief Randy Getz, the Post Advisor, and John Centerino, the Post Chief.
BC Getz, a 35-year veteran firefighter, is the one who started Hazelwood’s Fire Explorers Post in 1993, which is now celebrating its 19th anniversary. Centerino, age 19, has been with the Hazelwood Fire Explorers for about 4-1/2 years and was nominated as the Post Chief by his peers and approved by the department’s leadership. Since his uncle was a firefighter, he developed an interest in becoming one too. He plans to start attending classes at the St. Louis County Fire Academy soon.
The Exploring program gives youth, ages 14 to 21, an opportunity to “try out” a career in the fire service without actually having to go through the educational and hiring process. Members go through a Basic Training course in order to get familiar with the tools and operations of the fire service. Once completed, they earn the privilege of riding on the fire apparatus with professional firefighters to answer real emergency calls. They are allowed to do many of the tasks that paid firefighters do on the fire ground, but largely in a support role.
It also offers young people, both boys and girls, a chance to serve the community through fire department activities that are not restricted to emergency services. They can assist with educating children and adults about public safety, as well as make sure residents have working smoke detectors and properly installed child safety seats.
Regular Explorer Post meetings are held each Tuesday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm at Hazelwood’s Fire Station #2, 6800 Howdershell Road. Explorers are expected to maintain a good attendance record for these meetings and other special activities. Business and activity planning is discussed at some meetings and practical firefighter training is conducted at others.
Since 1993, Explorer Post #9341 has held a proud history of success in graduating many of its members over the years into professional positions such as firefighters, EMS technicians, paramedics, police officers, and emergency service dispatchers. It continually earns high marks in leadership and training programs among other fire posts in the St. Louis area.
For more information on becoming a Fire Explorer, contact BC Randy Getz at (314) 731-3424.
Click the link below to view the feature segment aired on KMOV-TV News 4 on Sun., Sept. 23: