The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

Inside look at West Covina Fire Department Explorer Post 465

Greg Konduralyan
Post 465 explorers watch Engineer Brian De La Cruz demonstrate forced entry on a training door at West Covina Fire Station No. 2 on Jan. 18. Part of the program’s hands-on learning for its participants. Lessons and demonstrations such as forced entry are taught to participants in the program and aim to prepare them for a 12 to 24-hour ride alongs with certified firefighters.

The West Covina Fire Department Explorer (WCFD) Post 465 offers an introduction to firefighting experience for 15 to 21 year-olds. The explorer post has helped facilitate and produce hardworking and decorated men and women who have matured into decorated and hardworking firefighters. Fire explorers undergo comprehensive training in firefighting skills, including hose lay evolutions, ladder techniques, salvage operations, wildland firefighting procedures, as well as the proper use of firefighting tools and equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus, and basic first aid techniques. Funded by the City of West Covina and the WCFD, the post members participate in countless fundraisers, parades, and city events. 

One explorer, Maya Rodriguez, a 19-year-old Rio Hondo college student who has been in the program for ten years expressed her outlook on what she has gained from the program along with what her future looks like within the post. 

“I do plan to continue this program as it provides comprehensive training in the fire service and I am grateful for the guidance of my advisors,” said Rodriguez.

19-year-old fire explorer Sebastian Burrola cuts steel rebar learning proper rotary saw cutting and holding techniques at West Covina Fire Station No. 2 on Jan. 18. Burrola, being one of the older explorers, shows his experience and how simple it has become for him to listen and exemplify what he learned through his time in the program, demonstrating the trust between the firefighters and the young explorers. The heavy and dangerous machinery can easily be misused and needs to be maintained properly. (Greg Konduralyan )

The militaristic intro to the explorer program helps mold men and women into mature adults by instilling invaluable skills and virtues essential for success. Such as uniforms being properly displayed, boots being shined and being lined up in certain engine companies.

Explorers are each assigned a task book that they have to complete in order to be certified to do 12 to 24 hour ride-alongs. These ride-alongs allow the explorer to work side by side with firefighters and respond to actual fires and emergencies on Paramedic Engine Companies or the fire department’s Ladder Truck Company. 

Post members who are certified to “ride out” are given the opportunity to learn on the front lines of being a firefighter or paramedic. They can then use the experience to further their future careers in the department. 

Anthony Gonzalez, a freshman who is currently taking Fire Technology classes at Mt. Sac uses his gained knowledge to his advantage. Whether it’s in his fire technology class or outside of firefighting, he tries to apply what he has learned into his day-to-day activities.

 “It’s best to be a sponge. Sponges absorb everything, and remembering information and small details will take you far as an explorer,” said Gonzalez. 

The explorers will continue to learn and serve the City of West Covina as a program of diligent young men and women. They will also persist in their pursuit of firefighting careers and other future endeavors, driven by their passion for service and their desire to make a difference in the lives of others.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All WCHS Insight Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *