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Junior Cadet Program

Program Overview

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) Junior Cadet Program (formerly the Fire Explorer Program) was established on March 1, 1978, to offer high school students, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 18 the opportunity to explore careers in the fire rescue service. The program maintains an annual enrollment of approximately 80 students, divided between two meeting posts: North Post #1987 and South Post #1403.

The Junior Cadets participate in extensive training, which includes a combination of instructional coursework, community service activities, and a "ride-along" program, in which Junior Cadets work side-by-side with Miami-Dade firefighters on medical rescue units, assisting the crews during real emergency incidents.

Through attendance at weekly meetings, students receive hands-on training in the fire, medical, and technical rescue aspects of the fire service. Additionally, on designated weekend days, the Junior Cadets participate in service activities at various community events and organizational functions, providing services such as first aid and manpower support.

All prospective Junior Cadets must complete a probationary Recruit Class before graduating into the Junior Cadet Program, where they continue their training while earning valuable community service hours that may be utilized for high school graduation and scholarship requirements.

There is no tuition for the Recruit Class, but there is a one-time fee which covers the cost of books, supplies, and the certification cards earned during the CPR and First Responder courses that are included in the Recruit Class. This fee can vary slightly from one Recruit Class to another depending on current costs, but it is usually around $40 (forty dollars) total.

After the student completes the Recruit Class and becomes a Junior Cadet, the student is asked to pay $5.00 (five dollars) a month to help offset the cost of food, equipment, supplies, and activities that are included in the Junior Cadet Program.

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Students interested in joining the Junior Cadet Program must attend a regularly scheduled meeting at one of the 2 posts, where the student will fill out an application and then be placed on a waiting list for the next available Recruit Class. A new Recruit Class typically occurs every 12 -18 months, depending on enrollment and student graduations or drop-outs.

Parents/guardians are not required to accompany the student for the application process, but they are welcome to attend along with their child. After the application process, the student will be required to stay the entire length of the meeting to view the activities and training that he/she can expect as a Junior Cadet.

Once a student has been chosen to begin a Recruit Class, the parent/guardian will be required to attend an Advisor/Parent meeting that will explain the entire Recruit Class process, including the requirements for Recruit Class graduation, and details about the full Junior Cadet program that follows. At that time, Junior Cadet Advisors will also answer any questions that parents/guardians may have.

Students interested in attending a meeting to apply or to view the program should choose a meeting at their nearest Junior Cadet Post (either the North or South Post). Please wear comfortable clothing in compliance with the following dress code (strictly enforced for safety reasons):

  • Appropriate Pants (no shorts, skirts or bathing suits)
  • Appropriate Shirt (no tank tops, halter tops, or short tops that expose the midriff)
  • Sneakers or Other Comfortable Closed-toe Shoes (no sandals, or any other type of open-toe shoes will be permitted)
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Recruit Class

The required Junior Cadet Recruit Class consists of a 14-week training program. Students meet once a week from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesdays for the South Post or Thursdays for the North Post. The Recruit Class program includes the following training and coursework:

  • CPR Course - Certification in adult, child, and infant CPR.
  • First Responder - A first aid certification course that teaches students how to provide initial assessment and treatment to victims of medical and trauma emergencies.
  • Station Etiquette & Equipment Familiarization - Through coursework and station visits, students learn about firehouse rules and etiquette. They also learn about fire rescue vehicles and all of the equipment carried on the vehicles, providing them with the knowledge and skills they will need when they begin riding on operational MDFR units as Junior Cadets.
  • Physical Training - Students are required to participate in physical training exercises, which include push-ups, sit-ups, running and other physical activities.

Note: Whenever possible, we offer a 6 week condensed Recruit Class which is equivalent to the 14-week Recruit Class that is currently offered. During this 6 week course, students attend class on Monday and Saturday for the North Post and Tuesday and Saturday for the South Post.

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Recruit Class Requirements

  • Each Recruit Class student must pay a one-time fee to cover the cost of books, supplies and the fees for CPR and First Responder certifications. The total cost per student is approximately $40.00 and is non- refundable.
  • Students will only be allowed ONE absence during the 14-week Recruit Class, and only TWO tardies. Any tardiness over 15 minutes will be considered an absence.
  • Students must earn a passing score of 80% on all exams.
  • Failure of the 2nd exam or performance objective will result in self-elimination from the recruit class.
  • Students must maintain a high school GPA of 2.0 or greater during the Recruit Class, and this requirement continues once the student graduates into the Junior Cadet Program.

During participation in the Recruit Class, the student is responsible for obtaining and wearing:

  • Black Pants
  • Plain White Polo Shirt
  • Black Socks
  • Black Closed-toe Shoes
  • A Watch
  • Physical Training Uniform - brought daily to Recruit Class (plain blue shorts, plain gray t-shirt, and white socks)

After graduating the Recruit Class, each Junior Cadet is issued a complete uniform for use during Junior Cadet activities and events. However, the student will be required to obtain black steel-toe boots.

Once the student graduates from the Recruit Class, the Junior Cadet will receive community service hours for all first aid and community service events that he/she attends. Typically, a Junior Cadet earns an average of 125 to 200 community service hours per year, depending on how active they choose to be in service activities.

Upon satisfactory completion of all required exams and performance objectives, the student graduates into the Junior Cadet Program.

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Page Last Edited: Mon Oct 6, 2014 2:23:17 PM

Contact Us


South Post
(Kendall Area)
7900 SW 107 Ave

Meetings: Tuesday Evenings
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
*No meeting the last Tuesday of every month.


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