Cherokee County Fire
& Emergency Services

Cherokee County Fire Explorers Bring Home Nine Awards from Winterfest

February 13, 2018

Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services’ Explorer Post 469 brought home nine awards during the 44th Annual Winterfest Competition that was held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The competition took place this past weekend at The Gatlinburg Convention Center with over 3,500 Explorers and Venturers from 17 states attended the event this year.

Winterfest is the largest gathering in the United States catering to Venturers and Explorers and it takes place annually in Gatlinburg, TN. The event is the largest scout assembly that specifically targets co-ed youth ages 14-21, and allows them to participate in a variety of competitive and social activities throughout the weekend.

This was the 17th year that fire department’s explorers have attended the event. Post 469 brought 16 youth and 18 advisors to this event. Also in attendance from the department were Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, Assistant Fire Chief, Eddie Robinson, and Operations Chief, Shane West. Many friends and family members of Post 469 also attended the event.

The post went up against some tough competition to bring home 9 Top-Three finishes! They placed first in High-Rise Drill, Z-Drag, and Bleeding Wounds & Shock.

Second place trophies were earned in Denver Drill, High-Rise Drill, Tabletop Display, and Video Contest.

Plus, the local fire explorers earned 3rd place in Pittsburgh Drill and Rapid Rescue & Resuscitate.

The events involved the explorers performing forcible entry, hose deployment, hose crawl, victim removal, emergency medical treatment, and much more.

In addition to competing, the post hosted the Pittsburgh Drill which is an event that simulates a downed firefighter being rescue by a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) through multiple obstacles along a 50ft. section of hose line.

The explorers began training for this year’s Winterfest back in September 2017. They averaged 7-10 hours of training per week and were mentored by career and volunteer firefighters who volunteer as advisors and associate advisors.

This was the 17th year that fire department’s explorers have attended the event. Post 469 brought 16 youth and 18 advisors to this event. Also in attendance from the department were Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, Assistant Fire Chief, Eddie Robinson, and Operations Chief, Shane West. Many friends and family members of Post 469 also attended the event. According to Tim Prather, Cherokee County Fire Chief, “We have a great group of young people who have worked hard for this year’s competition. Many of our current firefighters in Cherokee County were once members of our explorer program.”

The explorer program is a career based leaning opportunity and is open to young men and women ages 14 (and completed the 8th grade) and not yet 21 years old with an interest in learning more about careers in the field of fire & emergency services.

Fire and emergency services exploring is a hands-on program that exposes participants to many career experiences, leadership opportunities, and community service activities. The primary goals of the program are to help young adults choose a career path within fire and emergency services and to challenge them to become responsible citizens of their communities and country. For more information about Explorer Post 469 you can contact Sgt. Michael Sims at 678-644-1377 or mrsims@cherokeega.com.

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Cherokee County Fire Explorers who attended this year’s competition were (front Row - left to right): Gene Kachele, Jared MacCracken, Josh Shorts, and Denver Ice.  (Second row - left to right): Dalton Hamby, Chris Shorts, William Logan, Nick Lindsey, Griffin Hansen, Kenny Robinson, and Fabian Fazzari.  (Third row - left to right): Mallory Seibert, Anna Bowyer, Hannah Pohlman, Jensen McColl, and Gabriel Shull.
Cherokee County Fire Explorers who attended this year’s competition were (front Row - left to right): Gene Kachele, Jared MacCracken, Josh Shorts, and Denver Ice. (Second row - left to right): Dalton Hamby, Chris Shorts, William Logan, Nick Lindsey, Griffin Hansen, Kenny Robinson, and Fabian Fazzari. (Third row - left to right): Mallory Seibert, Anna Bowyer, Hannah Pohlman, Jensen McColl, and Gabriel Shull. (click image for slideshow)
Right to left) Dalton Hamby, anna Bowyer, Chris Shorts and Nick Lindsey force their way through the door and up the stairs to take the 1st Place trophy.
Right to left) Dalton Hamby, anna Bowyer, Chris Shorts and Nick Lindsey force their way through the door and up the stairs to take the 1st Place trophy.
Cherokee County Explorers participating in the Rapid Rescue and Resuscitate Drill were (left to right): Nick Lindswy, Fabian Fazzari, William Logan and Chris Shorts.
Cherokee County Explorers participating in the Rapid Rescue and Resuscitate Drill were (left to right): Nick Lindswy, Fabian Fazzari, William Logan and Chris Shorts.
Cherokee Fire Explorers (unidentifiable) participate in the Pittsburgh Drill.
Cherokee Fire Explorers (unidentifiable) participate in the Pittsburgh Drill.