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Explorer Cadets to hold recruitment night

DACULA - The Gwinnett County Fire Explorer Cadets will hold a recruitment night at 7 p.m. Thursday at the county's fire academy in Dacula.

Prospective Explorers must be between the ages of 14 and 19 and be accompanied by a parent or guardian Thursday, said Lt. Ryan Trott, the program's lead adviser. Explorers will be on hand for drill demonstrations and other activities.

Gwinnett Fire re-established the Explorer program with the help of the Boy Scouts of America in 2004 as a recruitment tool to introduce young adults to a career in the fire service. It also was a way for the department to reach out to youths who may be on the wrong path.

From learning to navigate the drill yard, to rolling and racking hose and tying knots, Explorer cadets go through much of the same training a Gwinnett Fire Department recruit receives, with the exception of training in live fire conditions (cadets train in simulated smoke).

Additionally, cadets receive eight weeks of first responder training and a first-aid certification that is a step below an emergency medical technician. Explorer cadets give back to the department by volunteering at the department's Youth Fire Safety Training Facility and providing first aid at area events.

"The program is a positive vehicle for young adults to learn about a career in fire or emergency medical services," said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, Fire Department spokesman and program coordinator. "Myself and several others within the department came up through the program, and we know it works."

Cadets must be between the ages of 14 to 19 and enrolled in a public, private or home school. Classes are held year-round on Thursday evenings at the academy and participants must maintain a C average in school to maintain active standing. Once an explorer cadet graduates from high school, they also graduate from the program. There is a $25 fee.

For more information, call 678-518-4824.

SideBar: If You Go

· What: Gwinnett County Fire Explorer Cadets recruitment night

· When: 7 p.m. Thursday

· Where: Gwinnett County Fire Academy, 3600 Braselton Highway, Dacula