State Representative Sandy Hamilton met with Springfield Fire Chief Brandon Blough to discuss strategies on recruiting new firefighters and encouraging the next generation of first responders. Chief Blough explained the Explorer Program that focuses on middle school students to teach them not only fire safety, but a possible future career in firefighting.
A recent new law that came from suggestions of volunteer firefighters was Senate Bill 2150 passed by the General Assembly earlier in this session and recently signed into law (Public Act 102-0375). This change in the Illinois Municipal Code and the Fire Protection District Act extended the age limit for older volunteer firefighters and part-time or on-call firefighters 35 and older who can now apply for full time positions as firefighters.
“This is the kind of legislation that we can develop when we collaborate with local leaders like Chief Blough to solve problems and enhance the public safety of our communities,” commented Rep. Sandy Hamilton. “I’d like to join Chief Blough in reminding everyone about the children’s program they sponsor called the Explorers to teach the younger generation about a great occupation in firefighting.”
Springfield Fire Department Explorer Post 300 is a great opportunity for area youth ages 14-21 to learn more about the fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Service). Participants meet twice a month where they are trained on various topics over a year related to fire and EMS. Members are able to do ride time with Springfield Fire Department and see what the job entails on a day-to-day basis by spending the day on shift. For more information on the post, you can message them on their Facebook page.