Fire Explorer Program

Ventura County Fire Explorer Program

The Ventura County Fire Explorer Program is designed for young men and women between the ages of 16 and 20 who are interested in a firefighting career. This fun, interactive, hands-on program provides participants with opportunities to enhance their self-confidence and develop leadership skills through community-related activities. The Fire Explorer Program is a joint effort between Learning for Life Fire Exploring and County of Ventura Office of Education Career Pathway program. It is conducted on a semester basis in coordination with local school district calendars.

Fire explorer with advisorsProgram Participation

Under the direct supervision of VCFD personnel, Fire Explorers have the opportunity to participate in ride-along shifts. After completing a training academy, Fire Explorers assist VCFD firefighters in station activities and participate in emergency incidents (on a limited basis). Participants are also part of  various community service activities, including safety fairs, city events, and public education demonstrations.

Explorers are required to complete five station-ride-alongside per month.  Explorer Advisors will work with the Explorers to accommodate scheduling needs (School, Work, Sports, Family needs, etc.) However, it is incumbent on the Explorer to communicate scheduling needs effectively.

Quarterly Drills will be conducted where all Explorers will attend together.

two explorers in front of a fire truck

Fire Explorer Assignments

Ventura County Fire Explorers are assigned to Ventura County Fire Stations as close as possible to where they reside.  This allows program membership to reflect the community.  Each Fire Explorer will be led by professional Firefighters known as Fire Explorer Advisors.  Advisors will provide leadership, training, and education.

Explorers group picture with a fire engineCurriculum and Training Academy

After meeting the program’s entrance requirements, Fire Explorers are given an opportunity to qualify for a Fire Explorer Training Academy—where participants are trained by professional firefighters. Each Fire Explorer will receive fire safety gear, training props, and material needed to perform job-related training scenarios. Training will include firefighting skills, hose lay evolutions, ladder techniques, salvage operations, wildland firefighting procedures, proper use of firefighting tools and equipment, breathing apparatus use, and other related subjects.

After graduating from the Fire Explorer Training Academy, participants are qualified to ride along on an engine, truck, or paramedic squad as they respond to emergencies.

Program Overview

  • This is a voluntary program under the direct supervision of VCFD personnel
  • VCFD does not provide any compensation for program participation
  • Fire Explorers are expected to:
    • Abide by all VCFD administrative policies related to conduct and daily operating procedures. Continuing enrollment in the Fire Explorer program is contingent on good behavior.
    • Wear the required uniform at all times while on-duty
    • Accompany VCFD personnel on emergency responses with student safety and protection restrictions
  • Following successful completion of the Fire Explorer Program, VCFD will assign a performance grade to each participant. 
  • Selection into and completion of the Fire Explorer Program does not ensure future employment with Ventura County Fire


Application for the 2023 Fire Explorer Program is now open and will close at 5pm, on October 13, 2023. Please click on the link on top of this page to apply. During the application period, interviews will be conducted for all applicants meeting the criteria for the Fire Explorer Program. The Explorer Program will be ongoing, with spots available for new candidates a few times each year. If you have any questions, email today.

Photos provided by Code Three Photography

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