"It's about morals and responsibility," described Andy Tucker, director of public education for the Broomall Fire Company, about the Broomall Fire Company's new cadet program.
The brand new firefighter cadet program is a first for the company and a first for the area, according to Tucker.
The main goal of the program is to reach out to the youth–specifically ages 13-16–in the community to participate in life-saving skills with the fire company and "possibly getting the kids to learn volunteerism, respect and service to the community," said Tucker.
Boasting its all-volunteer fire squad since 1923, Tucker said one of the main reasons of the new program's establishment was to keep the company's tradition and spirit of volunteering alive for generations to come.
But, according to Tucker, the general trend in new firefighter recruits has taken a noticeable downard turn.
"Volunteer fire companies in general have trouble recruiting nowadays," said Tucker. "Volunteerism is at a low. In today's society, everyone's so busy doing other things that volunteerism becomes a low priority."
With the volunteering pace the way it is, Tucker believes 10 years down the line the volunteer fire company could possibly turn into a paid fire company through township taxes.
For Tucker, the passion of serving and protecting residents from fires started early on and joined as soon as he could at the age of 16.
"I grew up at the Marple Township Ambulance Corps," said Tucker. "My father was president in the early 70's and I just grew up around it. Once I turned 16, I was begging my parents to join. It's just a passion of mine to help."
That passion that Tucker found was also passed onto his 13-year-old son, who is also eager and ready to join the new cadet program. But Tucker hopes the passion will go beyond to the other youth in the community and use the program to provide an opportunity for them to develop the passion.
"There are so many kids out there who see a fire truck and say they want to be a firefighter," said Tucker. "This is about developing that skill, that passion. The ones that really want to do it...I feel that they'll be there. There will be kids who will say, 'You know what, this isn't for me' and that's okay. It's just giving it a try."
According to Tucker, training sessions for the program will be held every first and third Thursdays of the month where the sessions will be split with classroom and on-hands training.
Cadets will learn and achieve CPR/AED certification, firefighting skills and equipment and participate in special events in the community such as the annual 4th of July parade.
An information session will be held on March 10. To register for the session or for more information about the program, call the Broomall Fire Company at 610-353-5225 ext. 7.