CADET Hose Line Deployment Training
May 2022


Our cadets worked with Sharpsburg EMS Medic Kristen Gray on Monday, November 22. Cadets learned the basics of assisting EMS with patient care and packaging patients for transport. In small communities like Sharpsburg, it takes collaborative efforts between fire and medical staff to provide the best care for our residents. At SVFC we take great pride in being cross trained in various public safety disciplines.

Cadet Program Overview

In February, the SVFC initiated a Cadet Responder program, introducing 12 to 15 year old volunteers to fire and rescue operations.

The Cadets train 2 evenings a month with the same equipment and in the same conditions as regular responders but under the watchful eyes of mentors. They gain knowledge and skills in emergency service delivery while building character, confidence, strength, and pride. They learn to work as a team and learn more about our community. When Cadets reach age 16, they can take certified fire and rescue training through the University of Maryland and can respond to emergency calls. By training Cadets in-house, the SVFC hopes to prepare Cadets for many years of service in Sharpsburg as emergency responders. Already our expectations have been exceeded as Cadets’ resolve, dedication, resourcefulness, determination, and skills rival other volunteers in the County, regardless of age. Their efforts provide promise for the future.

All training for our volunteers comes at no cost and the SVFC provides all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Cadets are supervised and their safety is paramount. They are challenged and active participation is required, as fire and rescue operations require extensive “hands-on” practice. The Cadets truly become part of the service delivery team and learn the fundamentals or saving lives, property, and the environment. As team members, most Cadets also participate in organizational fundraising, advanced training, and maintaining facilities and equipment to enhance their understanding of our operations. We have found the Cadets always eager to lean and focus on their assignments. These efforts are critical in making our organization stronger and better positioned to meet various challenges.

In the few short months since the Cadet program started, volunteers have received training in PPE and SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) usage, fire behavior, building construction, search and rescue, wildland firefighting, hose line operations, vehicle extrication, emergency communications, firefighter safety, and scene size-up. These subjects will be reinforced throughout the summer with the addition of new topics such as ladders, ropes and knots, ventilation, forcible entry, fire attack, rural water supply, salvage/overhaul, and coordinated operations.

Beyond the reward of helping others and giving back to the community, volunteers can garner Student Service Leaning (SSL) hours for graduation, life insurance coverage, response stipends, income tax credits, retirement benefits, scholarships, awards, discounts, and free training. With the education and experience gained, volunteers can pursue emergency services as a career or just use these skills to protect our community. Washington County Technical High School also has a certified Fire and Rescue Program for High School Juniors and Seniors, which some of our Cadets will be entering.

Fire and rescue companies throughout the United States have experienced a downturn in volunteerism, negatively affecting operations and putting both the public and responders at risk. The SVFC has become aggressive in seeking out new volunteers and ensuring current staff stay committed. We hope our Cadet program can continue to grow and we can pass on the Sharpsburg tradition of quality emergency service to a new generation.

The need for additional volunteers has intensified this year as Sharpsburg has become a regional response station, providing supplemental staffing and equipment to support volunteers throughout the southern part of the County. With this growth comes unique opportunities to learn new skills, gain experience, and have a greater impact on public safety.

Cadets Continue Training
Currently our cadets have progressed into lots of hands on training that they will be using in the future.  These young men are not only learning lots of valuable skills and training but also develop friendships and a sense of teamwork that will last them a life time!