Pelham Fire Explorers win first in competition

Published 2:53 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pelham’s Fire Explorers placed first in two events at the Trussville Explorer Competition. (Contributed)

Pelham’s Fire Explorers placed first in two events at the Trussville Explorer Competition. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Two teams of Pelham Fire Explorers brought home first place trophies after competing in the Trussville Explorer Competition April 2. The teams participated in a bunker gear relay and a Z-Rig rope scenario, earning the fastest times for each event.

“Everything they do in the competition is something you would see in real service,” said Capt. Ricky King.

King and Lt. John Meredith meet with the explorers weekly to train them on all aspects of firefighting. King said the students learn how to put on gear, recognize tools, work rope systems and more.

“We’ve got some of our explorers that can get their gear on in 28 seconds,” King said. “So they practice it to where putting on fire gear is second nature.”

That practice came in handy during the bunker gear relay portion of the competition. In a team of four, the explorers put on their gear as quickly as they could and completed multiple obstacles, such as crawling over rafters.

Pelham’s Fire Explorers earned the fastest time in the relay, winning them first place. King said he was most impressed with the tool recognition obstacle during the relay.

“You have the name of the tool on the board, and then you pick a picture of the tool that matches the name,” King said. “All eight of our folks zipped through that. They flew through that.”

The other competition was the Z-Rig rope rescue scenario. King said this is a rope system the fire department uses in situations where someone has fallen over a cliff.

The explorers had to know how to set up the rope system completely, without missing any steps, and they were timed. Again, Pelham’s team had the fastest time.

“They learn what it’s like to be a part of a team, because everything we do is part of a team concept,” King said. “Whether they pursue the fire service to whatever they pursue, they pick up like skills to help them with that.”

Currently, King said he has 14 registered Fire Explorers, and they cover the full spectrum of the 14 to 21 age requirements.

For King, he said there are several reasons he enjoys participating in the program. He said he enjoys mentoring and watching the kids find a passion for firefighting. Out of the group King started the program with, he said five of those explorers are paid firefighters now.

The program is also close to his heart.

“When I was 14, I started in the fire service…the closest to my heart, is my son started when he was 14,” King said. “Now he is a paid firefighter going through medic school.”