Fire Explorers train for real-life emergency situations in Fort Irwin

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FORT IRWIN, Calif.  — Fort Irwin hosted 197 young men and women for the 28th annual Inland Empire Fire Explorer Academy from Dec. 4-10. Explorers conducted training that included fire control, firefighter safety and survival, ventilation, structural firefighting, confined space, and fighting flammable liquid and gas fires.

IEFE participants received training under the supervision of 95, trained firefighters. The IEFE program is designed to give explorers real-life experience, discipline, and knowledge. This is a career-oriented program offered by Learning for Life, a branch of the Boy Scouts of America.

“This was the largest training we’ve had,” Fire Capt. Travis Espinosa said. “The explorers wear real gear, fight real fires, they get real experience in the fire service. And it works— I was here 27 years ago and now I’m here as a fire captain giving back, and helping train the next generation of firefighters.”

This is a five-day academy where Explorers, ages 14-21, participate in a variety of fire suppression systems. This year, with the help of the Fort Irwin Fire Department, Explorers were able to focus on confined space rescue efforts.

Fort Irwin Fire Battalion Chief, Adam Caudle, and Fire Captain Rhett Warsaw and their team built intricate props that allowed explorers to simulate confined space rescue drills. These drills provided the experience of working through different scenarios in order to familiarize explorers with situations they could encounter in confined spaces.