Five high school juniors are gaining experience for their future careers as part of a job-exploring program with the Plain Township Fire Department.

Five high school juniors are gaining experience for their future careers as part of a job-exploring program with the Plain Township Fire Department.

"Since we're already in fire school, this has really improved our skills and with the specialized skills, we've learned way more than we already knew," Patrick Archambeau said.

Archambeau, Alex Watson, Ryan Towns, Luke Downs and Tyler Albaugh are enrolled in the Fire Service Program at the Delaware Area Career Center.

They joined the explorer program in August through the Boy Scouts of America to get even more experience for their future careers as firefighters, Watson said.

Explorer programs are open to youths who have graduated eighth grade, ages 14 to 21. The program in Plain Township is under the authority of the Simon Kenton Council, which serves central and southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Plain Township firefighter Todd Moore is the explorers' adviser and teaches them how to work as a firefighter.

"They get structure, but because it's not school and we don't give homework, it gives them something to look forward to," Moore said. "It gives them a taste of what life's going to be like after high school. There's not a teacher leading you around and you have to think on your own."

Downs said they've learned much about working at an actual fire station.

Many of the explorers have gone on runs with the Plain Township Fire Department and have seen their mentors in action.

"I went to a car accident," Albaugh said, explaining how the firefighters had to pull a victim from a vehicle and transport the woman to the hospital.

Moore said the explorers are permitted to carry equipment but they cannot assist in fighting a fire or help victims, although Downs said he did hold a victim's hand once on a ride to the hospital.

Four of the five explorers used what they had learned May 21 in the Ohio State Fire and EMS Explorer Competition held at the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg. Only Albaugh was unable to attend.

The students competed in five events and placed first either individually or as a team in four of the five events.

"They traditionally meet once a month," Moore said. "But they've been practicing, and it showed at the competition that they worked really hard."

In the five-minute drill, in which the explorers have to put on firefighting gear and breathe through their oxygen tanks, "they all did it in under a minute," Moore said.

Watson was the quickest, getting completely ready to fight a fire in 39.8 seconds.

In the team relay, in which they placed first, all four explorers carried a pack up three flights of stairs, pulled a rolled-up section of hose up the stairs, went back down the stairs and finished by pulling a dummy 25 feet on a sled.

In the victim search and rescue, Archambeau and Watson were on the first-place team. They had to go into a room and find a victim, leaving the same way they entered.

In the Stokes rescue basket carry, all four placed first as a team, after carrying a 185-pound dummy in a special basket for one-quarter mile.

"The Stokes basket was the hardest because you have to walk a quarter mile with a 185-pound dummy around obstacles," Watson said.

In the hydrant hookup, in which they hook a hose to a hydrant using an adapter and then spray a target, the teams of two finished in second place.

For their accomplishments, Plain Township Fire Chief John Hoovler plans to recognize the explorers at the June 6 trustees meeting.

Albaugh and Downs attend the Delaware Area Career Center half a day and Westerville North High School the other half.

Archambeau attends the career center half a day and Worthington Kilbourne High School the other half.

Watson and Towns attend the career center the entire day. Their home school is Westerville Central High School.