Fire Explorer Program

The Ventura County Fire Explorer Program is designed for youth, 14 – 20 years of age, who are interested in learning about a career in the fire service. This fun, hands-on program provides participants with opportunities to increase their self-confidence and develop leadership skills through community-related activities.

The Fire Explorer Program is a joint effort with the Learning for Life Fire Exploring and County of Ventura Office of Education Career Pathway programs. It is conducted on a semester basis in coordination with local school district calendars.

Explorers group photo with an engineProgram Participation

Under the direct supervision of VCFD personnel, Fire Explorers will have the opportunity to participate in ride-along shifts. After completing a training academy, Fire Explorers will assist VCFD firefighters in station activities and participate on emergency incidents (on a limited basis). Participants will also be part of various community service activities, such as staffing booths at 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.

Fire Explorer program advisors with an ExplorerFire Explorer Post 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 in front of an engineCurriculum and Training Academy

After meeting the program’s entrance requirements, Fire Explorers will be given an opportunity to qualify for a Fire Explorer Training Academy where participants will be 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.

Upon graduation from the Fire Explorer Training Academy, participants will be 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: 1) 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, 2) Wear the required uniform at all times while on-duty, and 3) 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 within Ventura County Fire.


Application for the 2023 Fire Explorer Program is now open and will close at 5p, 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 a year. If you have any questions, please email

Photos provided by Code Three Photography

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