The Kankakee Fire Department Explorer Post #653 was established in 2017 after much hard work and coordination by principle members Capt. Bryan LaRoche, Capt. Mike Casagrande and FF Daryl Hunt. They observed an underserved need within the community and responded by establishing the post, a first for the Kankakee Fire Department. Many additional members contributed to the success of the program through teaching classes, coordinating events and mentoring the students. Currently the post consists of young men and women ages 14 -18. One of the main goals of the Explorer Post is to prepare young people for careers in fire and emergency services. The initial program started in October of 2017 with classes meeting at least twice a month. The students were not only taught the basics of emergency response but also were instructed on what it takes to be a career Firefighter including continual training, cleaning the stations and maintaining apparatus. Every cadet was issued fire gear and they were able to work their way up through training to participate in simulated fire ground operations at a training center. The Kankakee Fire Department was proud to conduct a recognition ceremony at a City Council meeting on June 4, 2018 for the first 12 members. A few of the post participants will continue to serve through the summer and the program is expected to start back up in the fall of 2018.