The North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission recognizes the need for this initiative to reach out to North Carolina’s youth and engage them in non-operational roles within emergency departments. Reaching out to people when they are young has long-range effects, and encouraging youth to take part in the emergency services is extremely beneficial to local communities and departments. Benefits of junior programs include:
- Allowing youth to gain insight and interest in becoming long-term members of the emergency services
- Increasing awareness among youth about volunteering and supporting the fire and rescue services
- Providing departments with additional help in accomplishing non-firefighting or non-emergency tasks
- Leadership development for America’s youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders
- Educating parents and mentors on the importance of encouraging volunteerism
In an effort to encourage Junior Firefighter and Rescue Responder programs, the NC Fire and Rescue Commission established this voluntary Junior Member Standard to offer guidance to fire and rescue departments in developing and administering programs. While designed to take into account state and federal child labor laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Wage and Hour Act, as well as recognized programs nationwide, the Commission recommends that departments research additional requirements that may be implemented between editions of this standard.