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No standard practice for junior firefighters

July 30, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

While all firefighters take the same training courses through the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI), what they can and cannot do with that training is dictated by individual fire companies.

Ron Bowser, manager of institute development for the MFRI, said students who complete Firefighter 1 training would have knowledge of respiratory protection, self-contained breathing apparatus, ladders, hose lines, nozzles, forcible entry, ventilation, salvage and overhaul, and search and rescue.

Firefighters are eligible to enroll in Firefighter 1 training at age 16.

"We don't dictate to the departments or companies what their companies will or won't do, can or can't do," Bowser said.

Overall, firefighters interviewed for this package said that with Firefighter 1 training, they would be able to go inside burning buildings.

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Without the training, their role at a fire typically is restricted to assisting other firefighters and observing.

Because the county's junior firefighter and cadet programs are managed by individual companies, no data was available on the number of teenagers volunteering with county fire departments.

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