Hanover Looking For Interested Fire Cadets

The Hanover Fire Department is looking for young people who might be interested in a future of fighting fires.

Fire Prevention Officer Gary Kehler says they are hoping to set up a cadet program within each of their four stations.

“The idea behind this is that it becomes a real big asset to our department,” notes Kehler.

He says ultimately this becomes a recruitment tool for the department. The training program is for men and women, aged 16 to 17, interested in serving their community and preparing to become active firefighters upon reaching the age of 18.

“We’re also looking to mentor them in giving back to the community, because we don’t just fight fires or do car accidents,” says Kehler. “We also go into the community and do some public education events, we do some stuff in the schools. So we’re going to use the cadets in those type of roles as well.”

Further to that, Kehler says these cadets also connect with their peers on a different level than a Fire Prevention Officer can, which can also serve as a form of education.

“(I’m) hoping that it’s going to be a win-win for both sides,” says Kehler. “The students will come in, become fire cadets, they can gain some life experience, which on their resume always looks good, gives them a little bit of self-confidence boost because they are going to be out there working, making decisions.”

Kehler says the idea for this program is nothing new. Not only is this something that Hanover has been considering for a few years already, but it is also a program currently being used by the Dauphin Fire Department.

“It’s an amazing program,” says Kehler. “I’ve talked with their Chief a few times and if we can implement something like this in Hanover I’m really excited about it.”

There is no prior training required for those interested in becoming a cadet. Also, Kehler says initially cadets will not be responding to any calls. However, after some training, Kehler says they may be asked to assist in some of the lengthier calls, such as structure fires or grass fires. He notes there are safe tasks they can do, outside of the hot zone, such as changing bottles, moving hoses and making sure firefighters are hydrated.

Kehler says they are hoping to sign on two cadets per station in Grunthal, Kleefeld, New Bothwell and Blumenort. A cadet will train in the station of their home community. He notes one reason for that is because there is also a commitment needed from parents who may be driving their child on training nights. Kehler says before cadets are hired, the department will sit down with the parents, just to make sure they fully understand the program.

“The other idea is that you are giving back to your community that you’re living in,” he says.

Kehler says the Hanover Fire Department is also working with the local schools to see if cadets could earn volunteer credits towards their high school diploma.

More information on the Firefighter Cadet Program can be found on the RM of Hanover website.

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