Young adults with a drive to become a firefighter can get first-hand experience with one of the best teams in Michigan, now that the Dearborn Fire Department is starting up its cadet program again.
Firefighter Mike Mattern—who was a cadet with Dearborn's department more than a decade ago—helped to get the program up and running again in the past few years, and is ready to start recruiting again.
"It kind of went by the wayside," he explained. "When I interviewed for Dearborn, they asked if I'd be interested in doing it."
Mattern said he's enjoyed leading the program that helped him on his way to his career, as have other Dearborn firefighters.
"Past cadets will be helping out with it," he added. "They went through the program, so it helps."
Cadets must be at least 18 years old to apply, and must be enrolled in a fire science or paramedic program. Dearborn requires their firefighters to be trained in both EMS and fire, so cadets will learn both in the program.
"They'll learn how we operate, so if they do get hired, it's a seamless transition," Mattern said. "You have this knowledge behind you—we know that you know what you're doing."
As such, Dearborn has hired many of its past cadets—including three in 2012.
However, Mattern stressed that cadets "aren't going to be doing anything dangerous," and shouldn't expect to be heading into fires or saving lives while in the program.
"None of these cadets count as manpower," he explained, "but they get exposed."
And when they do finish their full training and get jobs, he added, "they'll have a nice portfolio."
Cadet program applications can be picked up from Fire Station No. 4, located at 6501 Schaefer, on Monday-Saturday from 9-5 p.m. Applications are due by Feb. 22, and the first class will start in March. Cadets do not have to be from Dearborn to apply.