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(Many Paths)

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Mdewakanton Fire Department Explorers Win New Post of the Year


by SMSC press release


Prior Lake, Minnesota -- They may look like they are playing dress up in the turnout gear and rubber boots, with helmets a tad oversized for their heads, but these youth are serious about what they do. The ten Explorers from Mdewakanton Fire Explorer Post 9100 devote more than two hours each week learning what fire fighters do. The Explorers from Shakopee, Prior Lake, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community range in ages from 14 to 17. All Explorers are CPR and First Aid certified. Members of the Post also perform public service such as picking up litter every other Saturday on a section of County Road 82, along with other Community service projects.

The SMSC Explorer Post 9100, which began in September 2003, has ten members with a a waiting list. Explorers are a national career education program, which provide life experiences to help youth grow into the leaders of tomorrow through hundreds of Explorer groups across the country. Explorers must maintain an overall minimum grade point average while attending school. They also have attendance requirements for Explorer functions, and there are elections held for officers of the post.

Mdewakanton Fire Post 9100 attended the 2004 Annual Exploring Banquet a statewide recognition event in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, in April 2004 where they were awarded "New Explorer Post of the Year" out of seven new posts 'in the state. Post 9100 was selected for being the most enthusiastic post, for the dedication of the sponsoring organization (Mdewakantcn Fire), the adult leaders, and the Fast growth and strength in the post over a year's time. "The fact that you are always willing to share ideas and learn from others is a key element of success in a post, and your post is an, extraordinary example of what a post should be, though it does not usually happen in the first year," wrote Exploring Executive Jackie Cadalbert.

Explorer Joe Gustafson was nominated for Explorer of the Year by the adult leaders of the Post "We nominated him for his dedication and enthusiasm. He's never missed a meeting all year long," said Post Advisor Jason Melby, a member of the Mdewakanton Fire. Department.. Joe said, "I like that it's a chance to learn a career opportunity, that its an option if I should ever need one.

On May 17, 2004, the Explorers learned about the duties of the different roles fire fighters lake on at an actual fire, like the Incident Commander, the Safety Officer, the Staging Officer, and the Sector Chief. They learned what to do when they reach a fire, the importance of following directions an d being where they're supposed to be for their own safety, and about "rehab" where fire fighters go to rest during an actual fire to recover their strength, cool off (or warm up during the winter), and prepare to go back out to fight. They learned the system of using PAR tags (Personnel Accountability Records) to record their location at all times on a board carried by the Staging Captain. They then practiced what they had learned in a drill outside using the hoses, fire gear, radios and the PAR tag system.

Training sessions include putting on fire gear and other the tools of the trade, using the radios, radio protocols, oxygen masks, ladders, and about safety hazards. They've also learned basic search and rescue techniques where their masks are blackened and on their hands and knees they have to maneuver a small obstacle course to find things. They've learned hose operations, first aid, and how to take vital signs.

At St. Paul on April 25, 2004, they participated in an X-games event, a fun competition for different fire posts where the kids did 17 different stations. In this individual competition, they went against each other on events like ladder races, going up stairs in gear, and carrying apartment bundles (of hoses). Then two times a year the Explorers will compete with other Explorer groups from around the state in team competitions. One of these competitions is at the state fair. They will compete in a a state team
competition July 24 and 25th at St. Paul's drill tower.

Rick Steinhaus, Doug Nelson, and Jason Melby are advisors from Mdewakanton Fire. They are assisted by EMT Amy Herby, and Scott Burfeind and Rick Jonathan from the Prior Lake Fire Department.

The Explorers from Shakopee are: Amanda Angrimson, Squad Leader Mitch Patch, Post Captain/President Chris Strom, and Kayla Wiltse. The Explorers from Prior Lake are Post Lieutenant/Vice President Brandon Burfeind, Squad Leader Adam Shambour, and Phil Walczak. The Explorers from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community are Joe Gustafson, Jamie Vig, and Natasha Coursolle.

Mdewakanton Fire, under the direction of Emergency Services Director Jim Muelken, is owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota. The SMSC is also the owner and operator of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Dakotah Meadows RV Park and Campground, Playworks, Dakotah! Sport and Fit-less, and other enterprises.

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