Junior VFF Program

Junior Firefighter Membership Program

Along with guidelines set forth by the NC OSFM, the Elizabethtown Fire Department recognizes the need to reach out to our local youth and engage them in non-operational roles within emergency departments. Reaching out to people when they are young has long-range effects, and encouraging youth to participate in emergency services is extremely beneficial to local communities and departments. Benefits of junior programs include:

Allowing youth to gain insight and interest in becoming long-term members of the emergency services

Increasing awareness among youth about volunteering and supporting the fire and rescue services

Providing departments with additional help in accomplishing non-firefighting or non-emergency tasks

Leadership development for America’s youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders

Educating parents and mentors on the importance of encouraging volunteerism

To encourage Junior Firefighter and Rescue Responder programs, the NC Fire and Rescue Commission established this voluntary Junior Member Standard to guide fire and rescue departments in developing and administering programs. While designed to consider recognized programs nationwide, the Commission recommends that departments research additional requirements that may be implemented between editions of this standard.

Overview: Junior members shall be separated into two groups:

(1) minors 16 and 17 years of age.

(2) minors 14 and 15 years of age.

General Restrictions

The following guidelines are used to restrict the activities of Junior Members. When not explicitly listed or discussed, all activities are limited to those considered non-emergency.

  • Junior Members shall not be substituted for trained personnel.
  • Junior Members shall be equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment to accomplish the assigned tasks.
  • Junior Members who ride on apparatus or other department vehicles shall be seated and must wear a seat belt.
  • Junior Members shall not drive department vehicles.
  • Junior Members shall not enter or perform ventilation procedures on a burning structure.
  • Junior Members shall not use any tools or gloves on energized electrical equipment.

Minors 16 and 17 Years of Age ARE permitted to:

  • Ride as a passenger in the cab of a fire truck or a rescue vehicle. The Junior FF shall be seated with their seat belt securely fastened;
  • Attend and take part in supervised training.
  • Participate in department functions within the rehabilitation area of an emergency scene. This could include setting up the engine or light truck, assisting in water supply efforts, handling wood and other technical rescue materials, and other support functions which do not expose the Junior member to hazardous areas or atmospheres.
  • Pick up hoses or other materials and clean up at the emergency scene after it has been declared safe by the Incident Commander.
  • Enter a structure only when accompanied by an adult responder once the structure has been determined safe by the Incident Commander and not considered immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).
  • Perform search and rescue activities, other than structural firefighting, high level, other areas considered dangerous or IDLH.
  • Operate a fire pump or equipment outside the danger zone in the direction of the Incident Commander.
  • Use pressurized hose lines, if adequately trained, under the direction of an Incident Commander and out of the danger area.

Minors who are 16 and 17 are NOT permitted to:

  • Perform fire suppression involving structures or vehicles.
  • Perform high-level, confined space, collapse rescue, or any rescue operation that places them in danger or areas of IDLH.
  • Drive fire department or rescue vehicles.
  • Perform firefighting “overhaul” activities (except when the structure has been declared safe by the Incident Commander and then only with an adult firefighter).
  • Respond to Hazardous Materials events (except for support functions within the cold zone).
  • Participate or assist in any extrication activities at the scene of an accident or emergency (except in the capacity of a support function).
  • Participate in activities at an accident or emergency scene where fire or hazardous materials are involved unless they perform support functions outside the danger area.
  • Participate in actual “ice rescue” activities but may assist within any designated rehabilitation area or as a support member on dry land only.
  • Direct traffic at the scene of a fire or other emergency.
  • Train on departmental equipment or remove equipment from an apparatus unless under the supervision of an instructor.
  • Youth under 18 years of age who are enrolled in school in Grade 12 or below may not be employed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when there is school for the youth the next day. Sixteen and Seventeen (16/17) year old youths may get the hour restriction waived upon written permission from the parent/guardian and the youth’s principal/designee.
  • Youth under 18 years of age who are enrolled in school in Grade 12 or below may respond, in a non-emergency mode, to calls during school hours.

Guidelines for Minors Age 14 and 15 Years of Age

In addition to those restrictions listed above for 16 and 17-year-olds, the following are additional restrictions for minors aged 14 and 15. Minors who are 14 and 15 years of age are NOT permitted to:

  • Perform any hazardous duties at the fire station;
  • Ride in the cab of the fire apparatus responding to an emergency scene;
  • Stand on any fire apparatus that is in motion