Cadet Academy program inspires next generation of San Diego firefighters

Teens and young adults learn firefighting basics

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A boot camp this week aims to inspire teens and young adults to become the next generation of San Diego firefighters.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Cadet Academy has 200 people taking part, teaching them the basics of being a firefighter.

The academy is designed to help cadets decide if a career with the fire department is right for them.

Firefighters' base salaries in San Diego range from $3,275 to $5,564 per month. There is additional pay for extra specialties and training.

Current firefighter Jorge Ruiz went through the program when he was 16 years old. He said it solidified his desire to help others.

"I loved it," said Ruiz. "As soon as I was done with the academy, I fell in love with firefighting."

Ruiz signed up after seeing firefighters in action up close.

"A friend of mine was stabbed in a fight," he told 10News. "Firefighters came out to help him. I was mesmerized by what they were doing."

Now, he's living his dream.

"The camp teaches you about firefighting, but it also teaches discipline, respect for other people and hard work," he said.

To be eligible, applicants must be between 16 years old and in the 10th grade and 21 years old. They also must be enrolled in high school and keep a 2.0 GPA, or be a high school graduate attending college. They must have eyesight corrected to 20/20 and color vision. Finally, they must complete a six-month probationary period and pass an in-person interview.

To apply, go to the fire department's website here.

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