Hollis Fire Department’s Explorer Program



Explorers got the chance to use the Hollis Fire Department’s new battery-powered extrication tools. They learned how to extricate a patient and how to get the patient out of the vehicle, trying to minimize causing more injuries to the patient. “The Explorer program is a representation of the town and surrounding areas. We encourage the kids to always try and improve themselves each day. As long as they individually improve, then our mission has been accomplished. Positions are never about power but about integrity. We honor past explorers and members by striving to pass on many skills. Staying humble is important. One day you’re up and the next maybe not so much. If you can learn from what has happened, then you can adapt and apply those lessons.” said Lieutenant Tom Lanzara of the Hollis Fire Department.

Kelsey Sova, Staff Writer

At 14 years old, nobody is expected to know what they want to do with their lives. Although some may have an idea, others don’t know half the options they have available to them. Fire explorers is a program that is run all over the country. Not every fire department has an explorer program. Luckily, for the Hollis/Brookline community, Hollis Fire Department has an Explorer program known to the community as Explorer Post 12. 


In the fire explorers, students learn the ins and outs of firefighting and EMS. “Explorers meet twice a month. Whether or not meetings continue through summers goes to a vote and the explorers usually want to continue through school breaks. Explorers also hold ranks and those explorers are responsible for assisting advisors with choosing activities and lessons, along with communicating to the group. The program offers a ride-along program. After a test of certain trucks and the equipment they are certified by the fire chief. The Fire Department also offers an internship program.” said Lieutenant (Lt.) Tom Lanzara of the Hollis Fire Department, lead advisor of the explorer program. 


Explorers are able to do a lot within the program. “As an explorer I’m able to shadow the firefighters in the department, but limited to an extent. For example at a recent structure fire I was able to set up a 24 foot ladder on the back porch with the help of a firefighter and supervision of a deputy. I’m able to come into the station and hang out and check the trucks. When we have our meetings we can go from doing first aid to cutting a car up with our hydraulic equipment.” said Colin Lanzara ‘25, a student at Nashua High School North. 


There are set rules to what makes someone eligible to join the Explorer program. “To join includes having completed 8th grade and being at least 14 years old. The program runs up to age 21,” said Lt Lanzara.


There are set rules on what explorers can and cannot do during emergency situations. As explorers, they learn where different tools are located on three of the apparatus in the department. This allows explorers to grab tools off of the trucks to help not hold up the firefighters. Explorers are not allowed to perform any patient care. 


Lanzara, who holds the rank of captain in the explorer board, has been an explorer for about eight months. Lanzara has been interested in joining explorers for years now, “What made me interested in joining explorers was, I always wanted to be a fireman and this is the next closest to being one. I love helping people and I plan on continuing to do it,” said Lanzara. 


Miguel Avalos ‘24 has been an explorer for over a year. At the recent board elections, Avalos was elected as deputy chief of explorers. “As a little kid I’ve always been interested in first responders and how they help people on a day to day basis and how they are able to handle every situation very calmly and efficiently. And as a little kid I always had that dream of helping other people whenever they needed and one of the ways to do that first hand is by becoming a first responder like Police, Fire, and Ems,” said Avalos. 


Not only do explorers meet twice a month, they participate in events around the town. Some of the explorer’s main events are the Hollis Grape Festival in September, The Hollis Fast 5k run by the Hollis Rotary in June, and Hollis Old Home Days in September, where the explorers participate in the parade, have their own booth, and run a kids muster. The explorers love helping out in the community


Explorers may not be a known program, but it is a fun program. “One thing I want people to know is that explorers is a fun and safe place where you can learn and practice saving lifes and learn a little bit about the firefighting community and what it takes and what you have to go through to become a firefighter or Emt. Explorers is a place to learn and have a bit of fun and it’s a program that can help you determine if firefighting or Emt is a good fit for you and if you’d be willing to do it as a career. It’s an opportunity to learn and be part of the community.” said Avalos.


If you wish to join the explorer program, find an explorer or an advisor at one of the many events they attend and ask how to join, visit the Hollis fire station during normal business hours, or private message the Facebook page. You can visit the Facebook page for more pictures of the explorers.