Firefighting explorers competition March 15

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Teenage firefighting enthusiasts from several Explorers Posts in Georgia, and even a few from Texas, will be competing next week at the Coweta County Fairgrounds for the inaugural Coweta County Fire Department Explorer Expo and Competition.

The event will be held March 15 and will start at 8 a.m. Spectators are welcome to come and watch the competition. Coweta’s fire safety house will be on hand, as will several fire engines and other pieces of equipment. There will be a clown, a bounce house and a coloring station for the younger kids, and firefighters will be on hand to talk to spectators and answer questions. There will also be concessions.

There are several competitions, ranging from the “quick dress” to the barrel roll race. In the barrel roll, contestants use a stream of water from a fire hose to send a 55-gallon drum through an obstacle course. There will also be a bucket brigade relay, four-man obstacle course, and a four-person relay with four very different tasks.

Hopes are to make the expo and competition an annual event, said Coweta Assistant Chief Alan Smith, senior advisor for Explorer Post 700.

The Explorers are a group of teens, boys and girls, ages 14 to 18, who learn about firefighting. Explorers are part of the Learning for Life program of the Boy Scouts of America. There are Explorer posts that focus on various careers, not just firefighting. “There are Explorer posts in nursing homes, law enforcement, whatever career field is out there, if somebody wants to start an Explorers post, they can,” Smith said.

Explorer Post 700 attends a competition event in Henry County each October. “We saw how well they did it, and we decided we wanted to” host a competition, too, Smith said.

The competitions not only give the teens a chance to show off their skills, but they also get to meet other Explorers and members of other fire departments.

“So when they get to the point where they start looking for a job, they have already built a network,” Smith said. Smith said he’d love to see his Explorers beat Henry County in the quick dress competition, which is “putting your gear on the fastest.”

“They are quick dressing in 32 to 36 seconds,” Smith said. “Most of our kids, and even our firefighters here, are usually around a minute,” he said. “I’ve been watching it and cannot figure out, for the life of me, how they do that.”

After all the events are completed, there will be awards. The event officially lasts until 4 p.m., but things may wrap up earlier than that, depending on the number of competitors.

For more information about Explorer Post 700 or the event, contact Smith at .

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