Torrance Fire Explorer Program
Applications are currently being accepted for the Fire Explorer program, please apply here.
Fire Exploring is a unique career exploration program for young men and women. The City of Torrance Fire Department, and Learning for Life, in a joint partnership, bring the career of firefighting to life by offering youth participants an opportunity to learn about the fire service firsthand.
Fire Explorers, under close supervision, participate in non-hazardous activities that will familiarize participants with the nature and demands of the fire service. In addition to learning about the fire service, the main goal of the Fire Explorer Program's is to provide young adults with a sense of responsibility to their community through ongoing community-based activities. Fire Explorers will train in five areas of development: Career, Character, Service, Life Skills, and Leadership Experience.
The Fire Explorer is the entry level position in the Torrance Fire Department's "Grow Our Own" series. This is the very first opportunity to learn and understand about a career in the fire service at its most basic level. Fire Explorers with the Torrance Fire Department will learn how to prepare themselves to be competitive in a very aggressively sought after career within the fire service.
Fire Explorers work under the immediate supervision of a Firefighter who is the Explorer Post Advisor. Fire Explorers are assigned to specified duties and activities based on completed training and demonstrated ability and experience. The organizational structure of the Explorer Post is similar to that of the Fire Department. This allows for the development of leadership skills and abilities to be nurtured and utilized within the young adults participating.
Example of Duties:
Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Participates in drills and training in firefighting techniques
- Sets up and uses fire hose, ladders, and other firefighting equipment
- Maintains fire station, fire apparatus, and equipment
- Learn pre-fire planning and fire prevention
- Learn hydrant maintenance program
- Participates in public education and community outreach
- Participates as an observer in the Fire Explorer Ride-Along Program
- Performs various other duties as assigned
The Minimum Requirements to become a Fire Explorer are:
- Must be a registered member of the Learning for Life exploring subsidiary
- Must be between the ages of 16 and 20 and have completed the 10th grade.
- Must be enrolled in school and possess and maintain a 2.5 (C average) or greater GPA
- Must pass the Torrance Fire Department's Fire Explorer Program Physical Agility Test
- Must have no serious arrests and/or convictions
- Must maintain the Torrance Fire Department grooming standards
- Possession of a valid CA Class C Drivers License is desirable
The Selection Process:
The selection process will consist on an application review and oral interview. Interviews are scheduled on an as needed basis and recruitment for Fire Explorers is conducted on a continuous basis.
Work is performed both inside and outside in seasonal climate and weather conditions. Elevated heights, slippery surfaces, oily conditions, dust, dirt, smoke, heat, hazardous substances, chemicals, and odors are conditions frequently encountered. Physical demands include heavy lifting (minimum of 50 lbs) and carrying of fire equipment while working in required protective clothing. Work requires manual dexterity to assemble fittings and perform hose and ladder placement evolutions. Bending, stooping, running, squatting, pulling and climbing are also required.
For questions about the program or application process, please contact Fire Explorer Advisor, Firefighter Dushone Roman at DRoman@TorranceCA.Gov or at 310-781-7000. The City of Torrance is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Torrance Fire Auxiliary Program
Applications are not currently being accepted. Please check back at a later date.
The City of Torrance Fire Department Auxiliary Fire Fighter program provides Fire Academy graduates with an opportunity to apply their acquired skills and gain insight, while preparing for a fire service career. Auxiliary Fire Fighters respond to emergencies, assist with Fire prevention inspections, and maintain apparatus, equipment and stations. They also participate with training and public education.
Participants in this internship program will be expected to commit to volunteer (unpaid) one year of service. The schedule for this program is one 24 hour shift per week.
When you successfully complete this one year training program, participants will be equipped to enter a career as a Fire Fighter and eligible for:
- Firefighter 1 Certification from the Office of State Fire Marshal
- Opportunity for promotional consideration as a Torrance Fire Fighter
The Minimum Requirements to become a Fire Explorer are:
- Graduation from a California State Certified Fire Academy
- California Emergency Medical Technician-1 Certification with Los Angeles County EMT Scope of Practice
- A valid CA Drivers License
For questions about the program or application process, please contact Senior Business Manager, Sally Oliver at SOliver@TorranceCA.Gov. The City of Torrance is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The Fire Service is an extremely rewarding and satisfying career. I don't believe you can find a firefighter anywhere in the United States that would give up their job for any other line of work. Apparently the word of our love for the job has leaked out to the public because if you are looking to join the fire service, you are going to have a lot of competition. As many as 3,000 hopefuls will apply for as few as 10-15 actual openings in a typical City or County Fire Department in southern California. Although getting hired may seem to be a daunting task, here are some ways that you can prepare yourself to beat the competition:
1. Education. Do well in school and seek a bachelors degree in almost any subject you are interested in. The fire service has evolved from the days when a strong back was more desirable than a sharp mind. Today's firefighter has to have that strong back but also read and absorb information in multiple disciplines and skills. Para-medicine, hazardous materials, confined space entry, fire hydraulics, maps, plans, codes, tools, shoring, electrical, plumbing, investigation and, let us not forget, you also are expected to save lives and put out fires. School gives you the discipline to learn, and having a bachelor's degree shows discipline, goal orientation, sacrifice and learning. The candidate with a bachelor's degree has an edge on the candidate that has not achieved that level of education.
2. Military Experience. Firefighting is the ultimate team sport. No fire gets put out by one person, and no emergency is abated without coordination from all members working together. The best team builder known to humans is the military. Do you need a military background to become a firefighter? No, but it definitely gives you a big edge over the candidate that doesn't have it.
3. Work Experience. The skills applicable to the fire service are numerous. Jack of all trades, master of none truly applies to the modern day firefighter. Almost any skill or trade that you bring to the fire service can be utilized at one time or another. Try to learn everything about any job you have. Try to be the worker that can be depended upon. Give 100% to whatever job you have, and get glowing evaluations from your superiors. These might very well be the people that the Fire Department calls for their opinion of you during your background check. The background check for Police and Fire is extensive and thorough. Do not burn your bridges.
4. Skills and Training. When you are competing for a job in the Fire Service, there are several qualifications that can bring you to the front of the list.
Firefighter 1 certification: You can obtain this through any one of a number of Fire Academys in Southern California. El Camino College and Rancho Santiago are two of the most notable. This usually involves 8 to 12 weeks of full time (40 hours per week) training involving both didatic and hands on training.
EMT-1 and EMT-P Certification: Emergency Medical Technician One and Paramedic licensing is also a valuable asset. Most Fire Departments require EMT-1 certification either before training begins, or before probation ends. Either way, it is usually up to the individual to complete on their own time. EMT-1 is approximately a 120 hour course that is offered all over the Southland. It might be Semester oriented through a college, or 15 to 20 hours per week through a private instructor. EMT-P or Paramedic licenses require approximately 1200 to 1500 hours and can also be acquired through a college or private institution. There is usually a long waiting list at all schools offering Paramedic licensing, so plan ahead. Since acquiring an EMT-P license is so time intensive, it is a real feather in your cap to have this in your corner.
Volunteer/ Auxiliary: Many Fire Departments offer either volunteer or auxiliary training experience or both. This usually involves you donating your valuable time, maybe in 24 hour increments, to learn or keep up already learned skills while you are testing for Fire Departments. Some programs require prerequisite training prior to acceptance in their volunteer program such as a Fire Fighter 1 certificate. The City of Torrance Fire Department has an Fire Explorer program and a Fire Auxiliary program that you can apply to learn firsthand about a career in fire. This is our only volunteer program. Not only do these programs help keep your skills sharp, they show desire and motivation when you test for your oral interview
Other Certifications: There are many other certifications that can help. Some of these are, Rescue Systems 1 and 2, CPR, Hazardous Materials First Responder, and other numerous fire courses offered through the State Fire Marshalls Office.
5. The Hiring Process. Most Fire Departments test in similar manners. First is a written exam. This is either a pass/fail or a scored exam. Some or all that successfully pass this exam move on to some kind of practical agility test which will test your physical ability to perform the work of a firefighter. An oral exam in front a panel of firefighters will test your preparation, motivation, and presentation skills, Usually a select number will then move on to a Chief's interview for a more personal conversation with a panel of upper administrators of the Fire Department. The Fire department will then do background checks, which can be very extensive, on candidates that they are seeking to hire. After successful background checks, you will be given a thorough physical exam. Passing this, you will generally be given an extensive psychological exam which may include a lie detector test. Those passing all the above will generally be offered a job with the Fire Department. You will usually have some kind of mandatory rookie training called a tower. This can last 4-10 weeks depending on the city. Completion of the tower will take the candidate through a year of probationary training including daily, monthly, and a yearly final exams involving both didatic and physical skills. After your year of probationary training, you have made it. You are a sworn public servant with one of the best jobs available.
This list may seen daunting, but it is really a journey of incredible learning and experiences culminating with the reward of Firefighter. Your training, learning and experiences only begin at that point. There is truly something new every day in your career as a firefighter. If you are determined and motivated, you will make it. Don't wait to take fire entrance exams until you have completed any or all of this list. Take every fire department test you can get to. You get better with each one. GOOD LUCK!
We respond both an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic Unit and Basic Life Support (BLS) Engine or Truck Company on all life threatening emergencies. This means that 6 personnel from the Fire Department might enter your house, with at least 2 of those personnel being firefighter/paramedics. In the event that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is needed, the paramedics would not be available to provide advanced life support if they were performing 2 person CPR. The typical division of labor during these types of emergencies is as follows:
One paramedic to perform advanced airway procedures (Intubation), gather information, make base hospital contact, receive and give medication orders, and oversee all aspects of patient care
One paramedic to administer cardiac defibrillation, gain Intravenous access, administer medications, oversee C.P.R. and monitor all aspects of patient care.
Two BLS firefighters to perform C.P.R.
One BLS firefighter to assist with preparation of all medical equipment and supplies, many of which have to be assembled at the scene to maintain sterility.
One supervisor to oversee the entire incident, help with transportation and patient transfer, console family members, respond to questions, gather information, and request additional resources if needed.
On many emergency calls, not all personnel are needed. We respond for the worst case scenario, and release personnel if they are not needed. The absolute best in patient care is always our goal and many times an extra pair of helping hands makes that care a step above the norm for citizens of Torrance.
1. Emergency Medical Services.
In addition to being trained in all manner of Fire and Rescue emergency response, a proficient and competent paramedic has 1500 hours of intensive medical training along with approximately a minimum of one year of field experience. These are a few of the equipment and intervention specialties that your Torrance Fire Department's paramedics are involved with.
a. Automatic External Defibrillator (A.E.D.) - This device is used to electrically shock a heart attack victim to regain a normal heartbeat. You might find this device in your business, school, airport, or public facility as it was designed to be used by the public after some training. All Torrance fighters have annual performance testing to maintain their skills and knowledge in the use of this device.
b. 12 lead Electrocardiogram - This equipment allows us to determine in the field if a patient is having a heart attack. By knowing this a hospital can already be set up for a life saving treatment when the patients arrives. Performing this complicated diagnosing procedure prior to transporting the patient to the hospital means the patient receives life saving treatment much faster when they arrive at the Hospital.
c. Fast Magnesium Study - This pilot program is testing the effects of a new drug to be used in the field and at the hospital to minimize the permanent effects of a stroke. The Torrance Fire Department has entered more patients in this critical study than all but two cities in Los Angeles County. Only Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County Fire Departments have enrolled more study patients.
d. ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction. - A very fancy term for a heart attack with very specific training and protocols required to rapidly save lives.
e. Intubation - this is the process of putting a tube down a patient's throat and in to their trachea to ensure that they have a protected airway.
f. Pulse Oximetry - This equipment enables the paramedics to determine how much oxygen is available in the patient's blood stream to perfuse the cells and vital organs. This information helps determine the course of treatment.
g. End Tidal CO2 monitoring - This equipment helps ensure that an advanced airway placed by paramedics has not been dislodged and has been place appropriately. This information can also assist a paramedic by determining the effectiveness of the treatment being given.
h. CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This equipment has long been used in the hospitals for patients who are having difficulty breathing. It is now available for our paramedics to use outside the hospital. Those patients having difficulty breathing can now be treated much sooner and have much shorter hospital stays as a result.
i. External pacing - This would allow the paramedics to attach an external pacemaker to a patient whose heart is beating too slowly. This will assist the patient's heart until they are able to have a pacemaker implanted at the hospital.
j. Interosseous IV - You may be familiar with an Intra Venous (IV) catheterization. A needle inserted into a vein to provide access for drugs and fluids. This procedure works the same way, but the needle is inserted into a bone. Although this may seem brutal and painful, it is not. This enables paramedics to start an IV in a babies shin (tibia) bone or an adult whose veins are inaccessible or when traditional IV locations are not working. This would allow paramedics to give needed life saving medicines and fluids in situations where that would have been impossible.
These are just some of the many skills required of our fire fighters and paramedics to ensure that they can save the Torrance citizens who are having a medical emergency or have had a traumatic injury.
2. Fire Fighting Services and Equipment
a. Wild land / Urban Interface firefighting
b. Vegetation Management / Brush Inspections
c. Positive Pressure Self Contained Breathing Apparatus certification and training
d. Rapid Intervention Crews (RIC) - These crews and equipment are set up at all structure fires. Their purpose is to save any firefighters that get hurt or lost inside the burning structure.
e. Thermal Imaging - These are special cameras that are used to find victims inside of a smoke filled building or to find fire that is traveling inside a wall.
f. Mutual and Automatic Aid to surrounding Cities
g. Smoke Detectors
h. Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
i. High rise firefighting - This type of firefighting requires special tactics and training to deal with the large scale of the event.
j. Industrial and Chemical firefighting
k. Residential firefighting
a. Anti-terrorism Training
b. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
c. Tactical medicine and Police/SWAT interoperability
4. Specialized Responses
a. Technical Rescue - Urban Search and Rescue - This includes any sort of special rescue operation. Including Confined space, trench or high angle rescue.
b. Hazmat - This training prepares firefighters to be ready to respond to a chemical related emergency be it big or small.
c. Auto Extrication - this is where the "Jaws of Life" and many other specialized tools are used to get people out of cars that are so damaged they are stuck inside.
d. Safe Houses - This means that anyone that feels they are in danger can come to a fire station for protection.
e. Safe Surrender Site - This allows people to drop off their unwanted new born baby at a fire station without any risk of reprisal.
f. SWAT Assistance - When these teams are called out paramedics go with them to assist any injured civilians or SWAT team members.
g. Killer Bees
h. Auto or Home Lock out
5. Community Services
a. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) - This team of civilians is taught by the fire dept how to assist the fire dept in case of a major catastrophe.
b. Basic Aid Training (BAT) - These skills are taught to all Torrance 5th graders
c. Exit Drills in the Home (EDITH) - These skills are also taught to all Torrance 5th graders
d. Public Education
e. Disaster Preparedness
f. CPR Training - These skills are taught to all Torrance 9th graders
g. Auxiliary Program - This is a volunteer program to help give hands on experience to people who what to get in to the fire service.
h. Computer Aided Dispatch - This software allows dispatch to send critical information to a computer screen located in each of the responding units. This also includes a GPS system to ensure that the units arrive on scene of the emergency ASAP.
i. Fire Safety Officer - This person's job is to ensure that all the community services mentioned above run smoothly. As well as answer any related questions that citizens may have concerning these subjects.
6. Professional Development
a. Sensitivity Training - This helps people in the fire service more effectively help people who are grieving over the loss of a loved one or in any of the other many emotionally charged calls that they can find themselves on.
b. Computer Proficiency - as with any job now a days computer skills are a very helpful skill to have.
c. College Degrees in multiple related subjects
d. Incident Command Classes - This education helps prepare the firefighters on how to build a Command Structure for very large incidents as well as teaching firefighters what their role would be in one of these incidents.
e. Fire Officer Certification - With this certification our Officers are better prepared to lead their men and women on the infinite number of different types of calls they go on.
As you can see from all the above information, the days of firefighters sitting around the fire station, playing cards, and waiting for a fire are long gone. The modern day fire service requires that firefighters have a high level of knowledge, skill, education and continuous training to be able to respond and effectively deal with any emergency that arises in the city of Torrance.