City of Northville (MI) Fire Department

The City of Northville Fire Department in Michigan started an Explorer program in 1994 for young men and women interested in the fire and emergency services. Since then, Explorer Post 1717 has thrived and is currently registered with both Fire Corps and the National Volunteer Fire Council’s National Junior Firefighter Program.

Northville’s Explorers have an active presence within the community. Explorers conduct fire drills at senior living centers, assist at festivals and other community functions, participate in mock disaster drills, and help other community groups with their projects. Since the department does not fund the program, Explorers conduct a variety of successful fundraisers including car washes, hydrant painting, leaf clean-ups, and boot drives. They also write grants to buy gear and tools that are used for training activities.

Northville’s program is unique in that they work with other fire, EMS, police, and nursing Explorer programs from neighboring states to plan trainings, drills, and competitions with other Explorer posts. These interactions allow the Explorers to expand their horizons and gain knowledge from other programs.

Not only does the Northville Explorer Post impact youth volunteers, it also shapes future fire service leaders. Approximately 80 percent of the program’s Explorers either pursue a career in the fire service or continue to serve in some capacity throughout adulthood. Many of the program’s graduates remain involved as advisors and mentors.

The Northville Explorers Post is a great example of how a junior firefighter program can be incorporated into Fire Corps. Youth volunteers can participate in a variety of non-operational activities that support and strengthen the fire department. Additionally, these young volunteers are well positioned to continue to be involved in the fire service throughout their lives, whether as a first responder, in a support role, or as a community advocate for the local department.

For more information on Explorer Post 1717, contact Shari Allen at (248) 449-9902 or For more information on the National Junior Firefighter Program and how youth volunteers can strengthen your Fire Corps program, visit