Fire Explorer Program

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Fire Exploring is a national program for young adults interested in learning about careers in fire and EMS service.

The Carlsbad Fire Department is proud to provide a program that emphasizes character building, leadership, community service and physical fitness. Explorers will learn about fire department policies and procedures, the proper use of fire equipment and engage in firefighting training scenarios. Fire Explorers also participate in fire station ridealongs, where they are a functioning member of the crew for the duration of a 12-hour shift.

Carlsbad Fire Explorer Post 2200 is one of eight Fire Explorer programs in San Diego County that falls under the rules and regulations of our charter sponsor, Learning for Life.

Carlsbad Fire Explorers are under the direct supervision of Carlsbad Fire Department personnel that have volunteered to serve as Explorer advisors. Advisors attend explorer events as a direct supervisor and point of contact. During ridealongs, however, company officers assume the role of the Explorer’s direct supervisor.

The Fire Department’s Explorer Program is open to those who meet the criteria outlined below. Fire Explorer applications are accepted between August and September for the following year's Explorer Academy. Important dates and deadlines are announced earlier in the year through our website and official Fire Department Instagram page. 

Once the application period is closed, selected candidates will be invited to an oral panel interview. A panel of fire personnel screen applications and assist in the interview process. Top scoring candidates will be offered placement in the Explorer academy and will be notified of gear issue and orientation dates. 

Carlsbad Explorers attend a joint academy along with Explorers from neighboring fire agencies such as Oceanside, North County and Escondido. The academy is led by fire personnel and runs from February to May of the following year. The academy is in session two Saturdays a month from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Explorers receive instruction on basic fire ground operations and general knowledge of the fire service. Successful completion of the IFSTA Essentials Workbook is required. Upon completion of the workbook, Explorers will have the opportunity to do station ride-alongs where they will be assigned a variety of educational and vocational tasks.

Carlsbad Fire Explorers are expected to adhere to the City of Carlsbad Fire Department grooming and uniform standards. Explorers are also expected to participate in monthly trainings and community service events.

How to become an explorer

  • Be between 15-20 years old
  • Submit a completed application packet and successfully pass an oral interview
  • Successfully pass a background check, including criminal history, driving record and academic performance
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 while in high school
  • Participate in a minimum of 24 volunteer hours monthly- these hours are made up of fire station ride-alongs, trainings, volunteer events, and fundraisers
  • Maintain a high level of physical fitness

How to apply

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All prospective explorers must complete the online application and submit required documents here.

Once applications are received and reviewed, selected applicants will be contacted for oral interviews and a final selection process will take place. Fire Explorers will be notified of parent orientation and academy dates.

The next Fire Explorer Academy is scheduled to run from February to May 2024, on alternating Saturdays. Dates may be subject to change.

What explorers cannot do

  • Be substituted for trained personnel
  • Mobilize individually to an emergency incident
  • Ride on any apparatus without an assigned seat
  • Drive department vehicles
  • Climb aerial ladders
  • Climb ground ladders that exceed 35 feet in length, or are not supported against a structure
  • Enter or perform ventilation procedures on a burning structure
  • Use any tools or gloves on energizes electrical equipment
  • Operate cutting torches
  • Operate hydraulic rescue tools or equipment


We’d love to hear from you! Please email us at for additional inquiries.

Video gallery


Open house demonstration highlighting Explorers

2022 Become a Fire Explorer video