Future firefighters from across the nation spent June 20-24 in College Station at the 2005 National Fire/Emergency Services Exploring Conference hosted by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). More than 500 teens representing posts in 20 states — from Washington to Florida — participated in competitions and seminars held at TEEX’s Brayton Fire Training Field.
Guest speakers at the opening ceremony included Garry Briese, Executive Director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Chief Charlie Dickinson, Deputy U. S. Fire Administrator with the United States Fire Administration within the Department of Homeland Security.
Individual and team events included a bunker gear relay, make and break, room search, paramedic biking competition, physical ability test and wildfire shelter deployment. Explorers also competed in drill competitions and attended seminars on topics such as canine search and rescue; Texas Task Force 1; wildland firefighting; fire prevention and investigation; and National Firefighter Safety Stand Down, which was observed by TEEX and fire departments nationwide on Tuesday, June 21.
Learning for Life’s Fire/Emergency Services Exploring program helps 14- to 20-year-olds gain the skills and confidence to pursue their career interest in firefighting. Chief Les Bunte of TEEX’s ,Emergency Services Training Institute served as the chairman of the 2005 conference.
The explorers spent months preparing for competition and up to two years raising funds in order to attend the national conference. The competitions serve as both learning and team-building experiences, and culminated in an awards ceremony Thursday, June 23, where 45 awards and trophies were presented.
Learning for Life’s Explorers program encompasses five emphasized areas, including career opportunities, life skills, leadership experience, citizenship and character education, which are channeled through different post specialties ranging from art and humanities to social services.
Recognized as the world’s premier emergency services training institute, TEEX annually trains more than 70,000 firefighters and emergency responders from throughout Texas, all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond.