In the 608: Edgerton Fire Protection District Cadet Program

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EDGERTON, Wis. – There’s a volunteer fire department in the 608 with a new initiative in recruitment.

As we’ve reported before, many local fire departments are having a harder time finding volunteers, especially younger ones these days.

This is leaving a shortage in many cities, including the city of Edgerton, but they’re trying to be more proactive about the situation going forward.

The Edgerton Fire Protection District launched a new Cadet Program back in January, with a goal of finding more young people interested in a future of emergency services, like firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

EFPD’s coverage extends into Rock, Dane, and Jefferson counties, totaling about 100 square miles.

The extra help is definitely important in serving those communities, which is why it’s a dream come true for 18-year-old William Boyer, who’s excited to be part of the inaugural program.

“My grandfather was on the fire department for over 25 years, so when I heard about this program starting, I wanted to make him proud so I could be another firefighter in the family,” Boyer said.

EFPD Division Chief Brandon Whitmore works with both the Edgerton School District and Blackhawk Technical College in finding young people to join.

“Back when I first got on the fire department, we had no problem filling trucks. Now it’s extremely hard to fill a truck,” Whitmore said. “We started looking at different ways to get the community involved.”

Their inaugural class of cadets consists of four high school seniors who are trained in both classroom and hands-on experience. The program will send them to BTC after graduating from high school and eventually taking the standardized state test to be certified in serving anywhere in Wisconsin.