Fire/EMS Exploring Proficiency Awards Back


With Exploring posts throughout the United States operated by local, state, and national fire/emergency services agencies, variances in training exist. The award program has been developed to provide a nationally standardized recognition and proficiency award program.

The fire/emergency services Exploring Proficiency Awards program provides an opportunity for posts and their Explorers to earn a series of recognition items that acknowledge their fire/emergency services Exploring experience. These recognize community service, fire prevention, fire/emergency services service, fire/emergency services training, emergency preparedness, tenure, and Explorer of the Year. Each proficiency area is intended to recognize experience, tenure, training, or leadership. These awards are intended to be worn on the fire/emergency services Explorer uniform only.

Description: Law Enforcement Training 1. Fire/Emergency ServicesTraining
Recognizes the accumulation of 60 hours of training in the following areas:

  • History of fire or emergency services (1 hour)
  • The contemporary emergency services or fire services role and the role of an Explorer in the program (2 hours)
  • Leadership training and team building (4 hours)
  • Youth Protection Training
  • Communications with portable radios (2 hour)
  • Physical fitness (4 hours)
  • Fire behavior and suppression (8 hours)
  • Community service projects such as smoke detectors, weather radios, home safety inspections or fire sprinkler inspections (8 hours)
  • Basic hand line operations and fire ground safety (4 hours)
  • First responder trainer with basic emergency medical technician training and basic life support training (8 hours)
  • Human relations (4 hours)
  • Public education such as open house, ride arsons program, assist in special events (6 hours)
  • Community emergency preparedness (4 hours)
  • Arson Investigation (2 hours)
  • Ladder and knot types and uses (2 hours)
  • Ambulance or fire engine operations (3 hour)
  • Role of Explorer in ambulance or fire engine operations (2 hours)
  • Assist with equipment (2 hours)
  • Vehicle placement on scene and water supply (1 hour)
  • PT care and use of personal protective equipment (6 hours)
  • Salvage skills (tarps, runners, etc.) (2 hour)
  • SCBA components and use (2 hours)
  • Search and rescue—reason and techniques (6 hours)
  • Forcible entry techniques and application (2 hour)
Description: Community Service 2. Community Service
Acknowledges 100 hours of community service. Service must be preapproved and logged by the Advisor. The recognition is a blue and yellow commendation bar, No. 4019.
Description: Crime Prevention 3. Fire Prevention
Includes 8 hours of fire prevention instruction as well as additional hours of training in areas such as fire safety survey. The award is presented to Explorers who participate in at least three departmental fire prevention projects with a total of 25 hours of activity.
Description: Law Enforcement Service 4. Fire and Emergency Service
Includes assistance to the department in areas such as records, communications, data processing, etc. It recognizes an accumulation of 60 hours of service. The recognition is a red and gold commendation bar, No. 4021.
Description: Emergency Preparedness 5. Emergency Preparedness
Certifies that the Explorer has received training in advanced first aid and CPR; has received training in how the post would assist in a disaster, such as flood, tornado, hurricane, etc.; and has participated in at least one homeland defense or communitywide disaster training exercise. This is recognized by a red and white commendation bar, No. 4022.
Description: Tenure 6. Tenure
Awarded to those Explorers who complete one year of satisfactory service to the post. It is recognized with a red commendation bar which is worn with 1 yr service pen. No. 4023.
Description: Perfect Attendance 7. Perfect Attendance
Recognizes attendance at each scheduled meeting of the post during the preceding year. The recognition is a yellow and white commendation bar, No. 4024.
Description: Drug Abuse Prevention 8. Drug Abuse Prevention
Acknowledges proficiency in drug abuse prevention and youth protection training and service. Requires 6 hours of advanced training outlined in Drug Abuse Prevention for Teens (PDF – 1.5MB) and 30 hours of service in at least two different drug abuse prevention projects. The recognition is a blue and silver commendation bar, No. 4026.
Description: National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference 9. National Fire/Emergency Services Explorer Conference Bar
Presented to Explorers who attend a national fire/emergency services conference and a sanctioned regional conference. The recognition is a dark green commendation bar, No. 4030.
Description: Explorer of the Year 10. Explorer of the Year
Each post will be encouraged to recognize one Explorer each year. This Explorer should be selected on the basis of dependability, attitude, attendance, and contributions to the post, department, and community. Explorers of the Year are obviously recognized for their outstanding performances and personal attributes. The recognition is a blue bar with a gold "E," No. 4025.
11. National Fire/Emergency Services Explorer Conference Device
Presented to Explorers who attend more than one national conference.  Device should be placed on conference bar.  The recognition is Gold Explorer “E”, No. 00930.


Each award or recognition is represented by a fire/emergency services-type commendation ribbon that affixes to a metal holder bar. Research has determined that the items, colors, and contributions do not conflict with either fire department or emergency service department commendation bars. However, it also revealed that a small number of posts are not permitted to wear any type of medal, ribbon, or patch on their uniforms apart from their departmental patches. These posts, as well as those that want a more lasting recognition, can use the certificate of proficiency. It contains a space for signatures of the Advisor and department head.

The commendation bars, backing pins, and certificates are available through local Learning for Life service centers as well as through the National Distribution Center, toll-free phone 800-323-0732. The post Advisor assumes responsibility for Explorers meeting the proficiency award criteria. An Advisor may purchase a quantity of the items and distribute them as merited.

Retail cost of the commendation bars is 89¢ each. The backs are available at 89¢ for a single, 99¢ for a double, and 1.19 for a triple. The certificates are 1.49 each. Prices are subject to change.

You may download a form for ordering these awards [PDF].