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Local teen takes firefighting to next level

An Explorer with Colleton County Fire-Rescue has graduated from the S.C. Fire Academy’s Recruit School.
The Explorers is a local youth volunteer program that allows teens in Colleton County to volunteer with the countywide fire-rescue organization.
Teens who participate in the program have the option to tap into the Palmetto State’s top fire school – the S.C. Fire Academy.
On Dec. 7th, Colleton County resident Justin Parker graduated from the state recruit school. Parker now officially carries the title of Firefighter II with Colleton County Fire-Rescue (CCFR).
According to Barry McRoy, chief/director of CCFR, Parker has served with the Explorer program until his recent graduation from Colleton County High School. He was one of 16 participants who completed the state Fire Academy’s 8-week training course, which is held in Columbia, S.C.
“The course exceeds the NFPA Firefighter II curriculum and participants are certified as Medical First Responders, Basic Firefighter, FLAG, HazMat Ops, IFSAC Firefighter I and II and Auto Extrication,” said McRoy. McRoy and other members of Colleton County Fire-Rescue attended Parker’s graduation, which was held in Columbia, S.C.
“The Fire Academy’s Denny Auditorium was packed with family members and dignitaries,” he said.
Parker is the son of Tim and Debra Parker. McRoy says Parker now wants to pursue a career in fire service.
The Explorer Program through Colleton County Fire-Rescue (CCFR) is open to male and female youth in the county, who are from the ages 14-18. It teaches youth the ins-and-outs of the fire-rescue system, from how to use a fire truck to introductory EMT and on-site rescues. The volunteer program is a feeder into Colleton County Fire-Rescue, but it also taps into the state’s “Learning for Life” program.
“The ‘Learning for Life’ program is allows the explorers to start taking South Carolina Fire Academy classes at the age of 16. There are over 20 classes they can take either online or in the traditional classroom, as Explorers,” said Scott Feather, who oversees the Explorer Program through CCFR. Feather is also a Battalion Chief with Colleton County Fire-Rescue.
“The certifications they obtain are provisional … meaning they turn live when they turn 18,” he said.
The Explorers meet twice a month to learn the mechanics of the fire-rescue career. Specifically, Feather says the young volunteers learn about hose deployments, fire streams, hydraulic calculations, forcible entry, and more.
There are currently 22 Explorers in the program.
For more information on the Explorers Program, contact the Colleton County Fire-Rescue administrative offices at 843-539-1960.

Heather Walters (1491 Posts)