Life as a Fire Explorer


Priya Bandstra, Staffer

When deciding a future career, usually teenagers don’t get the chance to get a firsthand look at potential pursuits. Seniors Matt Dooley and Tony Amalfitano along with junior Daanyal Syed and freshman Lawson DeVier all get to experience what it is like to be a firefighter through the program Fire Explorers.
“It’s essentially a program for teens to experience what it’s like to be a firefighter or anything in public safety,” Dooley said. “It also teaches you a ton of life skills such as first aid. You get to do a lot of hands-on training with the fire department.”
Dooley, Amalfitano, Syed and DeVier attend weekly meetings and practice skills that would be utilized by actual firefighters in training such as search and rescue, ventilation training, car extractions, ropes and knots. They all agree that they have learned skills that are vital to their everyday lives.
“I’ve learned a lot about the incident command system,” DeVier said. “Basically you learn about how 911 works, which I think is something that everyone should know.”
Syed believes that this program has taught him how to stay calm in hectic situations as well as work with others. Fire Explorers has also taught him many other vital skills to apply to his life.
“I have learned how to use different tools that I would have never known how to use without Fire Explorers,” Syed said.
Fire Explorers is different because it is a very hands-on experience. Rather than learning these skills in a standard classroom setting, students get to be trained by experts in their field.
“Not many people get the opportunity to experience their possible future career from a physical standpoint, it’s an opportunity one shouldn’t pass up,”Amalfitano said.
These students have also gained a newfound respect for firefighters and their role.
“You don’t think about something until you actually need it,” Syed said. “You don’t really think of a firefighter until you encounter a fire.”
Dooley, Amalfitano, Syed and DeVier all believe that Fire Explorers has benefited them and helped them learn skills they would not learn on their own.
“There’s more than just Shake Shack in Troy,” Dooley said. “You just have to look around.”