In 1974, several Orange County California Fire Department Explorer Advisors wanted to provide activities for their Explorers on or around the traditional California Scholastic, Spring Break Vacation. Born was the Orange County Fire Explorer, Fire Academy. All of the original explores, advisors, instructors, and sponsoring agencies were contained within Orange County. This Fire Explorer Academy program continued throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

The Orange County Fire Explorer Association operated with a Board of Directors. The Board consisted of all volunteers; one (1) President, one (1) Vice-president, one (1) Secretary, and one (1) Treasurer. These Advisors were elected to one (1) — year terms; they guided and directed the Organization.

A significant transition occurred in 1983. The first Fire Explorer Programs from outside of the Orange County area were invited and attended the Fire Explorer Academy. In addition, the organization was growing at an alarming rate. Exploring programs in California doubled in volume and with attendance levels at several Explorer Fire Academy’s reaching upwards of 250 Cadets, the regional approach shortly was abandoned.

The Orange County Fire Explorer Association dissolved and the California Fire Explorer Association was created. Fundamentally, the Association continued the strong commitment to Fire Exploring, but several adjustments were required for the survivability of the Organization: Safety, Advisory, and Manageability.

First, a reduction in the number of attendees was achieved so that the Advisor to Cadet ratio would be reduced for Safety. The current attendance levels average 150 Cadets per year.

Second, the Association has provided Advisors to offer advice and guidance to any fire department, law enforcement, and search and rescue group seeking to establish and operate an Explorer Program. The experience of the existing Fire Explorer Advisors within the California Fire Explorer Association can provide accurate and honest input to adults and organizations seeking to begin their own program.

Finally, the Association has all but had to abandon the annual Fire Explorer Muster. This is due primarily because of the amount of time and energy required to provide the Fire Explorer Academy. At the conclusion of the Spring Fire Explorer Academy, a small break is taken, and planning for the following Academy begins in October. Managing the Explorers, Advisors, Sponsoring Fire Agencies, and all of the surrounding elements for this program is very time consuming.

It is no secret that the California Fire Explorer Academy today and throughout its history, has provided the most comprehensive, hands on, live fire training exercises for any Explorers in the World. These activities include: Auto Extrication, Wildland Fire Fighting, Flammable Liquids Fire Fighting, Structure Firefighting, and Technical Rescue.

This Organization and its programs are created by the Sponsoring Fire Agencies, Boy Scouts of America, Explorers, the Board of Directors. However; this program has been successful because of the countless hours, days, weeks, and months of dedication, sacrifice, and volunteerism contributed to this Organization and our young people. All of this is possible because of the Explorer ADVISORS. This Organization has been blessed to receive many Advisors from all walks of life. All have left something to this organization and for the Explorers.

Remember: SAFETY FIRST!!!