are the zone 3 fire CADETS a VOLUNTEER-BASED organization?
YES. The Zone 3 Fire Cadet program is entirely made-up of volunteers who dedicate their own time. The Zone 3 Fire Cadets have Advisors who are Fire and Emergency service professionals (Firefighters and EMTs), and also civilian Advisors (parents and retired).
I am a parent or firefighter/emt. How do i become an advisor?
If you are a parent, we recommend you attend at least two consecutive meetings, then speak with one of the post Advisors in attendance. They can give you all the information you need to apply.
If you are a Fire and Emergency Service professional, and hired by one of our four sponsoring fire agencies (Puget Sound RFA, Tukwila FD, Renton RFA, or Maple Valley FD), you can ask the lead department Advisor about the application process. You can contact us if you do not know who they are. You can also contact us if you are not apart of the four sponsoring fire agencies, but would like to get involved ... we'd love to have you on board.
are the Cadets actually dispatched to fire calls? HOW DOES THAT WORK?
YES. After satisfactory completion of the probationary training, Cadets may then become apart of the group of Dispatchable Cadets. Cadets and Advisors are assigned a pager and/ or an Active 911 account and added to the programs mobile dispatch list.
Each call through the Valley Communications Center (the Regional 9-1-1 Center for South King County) is monitored 24/7 ... if an incident is deemed to need our assistance, or we are requested, the available Cadets and Advisors will be dispatched. Here is an peek at what a call may look like:
Can I bring family and/or friends to meetings or events?
Yes, with limitations. The Zone 3 Fire Cadet program is committed to community engagement, and we always encourage family and friends to get involved. If parents would like to become more associated, we recommend they consider becoming an Advisor. If friends show interest, encourage them to apply as well!
I'm to young/old to join ... what should I do?
For now Cadets need to be between the ages of 14 - 21 to apply. If you are not yet of age, we recommend you continue your passion for helping those in need by volunteering with a parent in your community until the time comes to apply. That being said, you can always reach out to us to demonstrate your interest.
If you are over 21, we recommend you look into volunteer or wildland firefighter opportunities in your region. This is the next step for many Explorers who "age-out" of the program but intend to be another pair of boots in the Fire Service.
Here are all the volunteer firefighting opportunities within 15 miles of SeaTac, WA:
what if i later realize fire and emergency services no longer interest me?
The skills you learn as a Zone 3 Fire Cadet are adaptable to whatever career or opportunity you wish to pursue. The limits of your commitment to the Fire Service is up to you ... we encourage you to pursue your passion, whatever it may be.
Can i receive volunteer hours through the program?
YES. Keep track of your volunteer hours on the required form provided by your school or workplace, and bring it to an Advisor to sign-off after each meeting or event. Active participation in the program and attendance for each of the meetings/events will have to be confirmed in order for the form to be signed-off.
As a Cadet, what are my responsibilities?
There are many ... much to many to highlight in the FAQ. In broad terms, the Zone 3 Fire Cadet program never hesitates to provide opportunity, and those opportunities breed responsibility. There are many aspects of a Cadets' commitment that warrants leadership both of oneself and others, whether that be during probation, during a response, or in the fire station. Take a look at our Rules and Regulations for specific responsibilities.
How strict is the program? How are disciplinary actions handled?
The Zone 3 Fire Cadet program is held to a superior standard because of our mission, values, and the agencies/communities we represent. We run a tight ship, but not on a paramilitary level. We have fun, but our responsibilities, education, and training take priority. If disciplinary action needs to be taken, it can result in a warning and can escalate to potential suspension, significant restriction of responsibilities/opportunities or termination of membership. Confidentiality with any and all members will be adhered to. Take a look at our Rules and Regulations for specifics.
I have specific physical health preconditions which may PROHIBIT me from taking part in some activities. Can I still join?
It depends. We understand certain medical conditions are out of your control, but your safety is our highest priority. If a letter from your doctor stating you are able to meet our physical requirements without harm and you and your parents are confident in your physical ability and safety, we encourage you to apply. If accepted, we will work with you to ensure your safety is taken into consideration with certain activities.
What is the general time commitment?
To be considered an active member of the program, we require attendance at atleast two (2) meetings and two (2) events each month. Each meeting is three hours, once a week, and events can range from one hour to overnight, with the amount of events fluctuating from month to month. If a Cadet is dispatchable, calls could be anytime of the day, anytime of the week, and anytime of the year, but we leave it to Cadets to make the judgement if they should respond. These decisions should be based on their location relative to the call and if they are available. In our program, family comes first; education second; and the Cadet Program, REHAB Response and Wildfire Hand Team, Strike Team third. Ultimately participation level and commitment is the decision of the Cadets and Parents, if applicable.
I am too far away to be in the program, but would love to be a fire Cadet. What should I do?
The Zone 3 Fire Cadets are not the only Cadet / Explorer program out there. We have listed a few other programs below that might be of interest, which may be closer to you. If you know or learn of another or would like to start one, please let us know. The Washington Association of Future Firefighters is also a great resource for all Fire Cadet/ Explorer programs and their members. https://wa-fff.org/
I AM READY TO APPLY. WHERE DO I START?
First, drop-in for two consecutive meetings, and see how it goes. Speak with Cadets and Advisors, involve yourself as much as possible, and form your own interpretation of our mission, values, and ethics. You may also vist our Facebook and Twitter pages to see the programs in action.
When you're ready to commit, visit the 'APPLY' page to get started with enrollment. Print and complete all the necessary documents by our next meeting at Station 46 in SeaTac. Your application will be reviewed, and if accepted, you will receive a response by email and phone from your new company officer. You will then be issued your respective gear/equipment, and begin your probationary period as a Zone 3 Fire Cadet.
For more information you may contact us at:
Zone3FireCadets@gmail.com or Call/ Text us at (253) 234-7278.
The Zone 3 Fire Cadets DO NOT RESPOND TO EVERY FIRE IN THE ZONE 3 JURISDICTION. WHY IS THAT?
Not every fire requires a rehab unit(s). Some fires, such as single-alarm fires, can be dissolved within a short period of time with little resources. The Zone 3 Fire Cadet program operates the following REHAB units 24/7/365: REHAB 302, REHAB 303, REHAB 304 and CADET 346 with CADET 314 as an additional multi-purpose use vehicle which can be put into service immediately, if needed. REHAB is provided at all "Working Fire" upgraded incidents as well as for a variety of Emergency incidents, River Rescues, Search and Rescues, Police and SWAT incidents, Wildfire/ Brush Fires and much more. The Advisors are primarily dispatched first to evaluate the need and safety of Cadets should the additional hands be needed. Multiple-alarm fires or larger scale incidents that would exhaust firefighters and their resources quicker, automatically calls upon available Cadets, Advisors, vehicles and equipment. ... so, in short, it depends on the call. In addition, we are no longer the primary rehab unit in Zone 3. King County Fire District 20 (Skyway/Bryn-Mawr) REHAB 322/ AIR 20 unit is the primary but, at least one Zone 3 Fire Cadet Rehab unit will join REHAB 322. If REHAB 322/ AIR 20 is unavailable, out-of-service, or already dispatched to another incident, the Zone 3 Fire Cadets are already aware and are enroute to incidents as needed.
Wildfire/ Brush fire Response:
Our Wildfire Hand Team(s), Brush Truck BR 348 and/ or Water Tender 348, as other career or volunteer units, are not always needed or requested or in position to assist. Depending on the circumstances with a Wildfire, leadership will decide which resources would be best for the incident and crews. As Wildfires/ Brush fires become more prevalent, some Structural Fire Agencies will call upon us and others because we, as Certified Wildfire Firefighters, are better equipped, experienced and educated on how to fight wildfires. Brush Fires in urban settings can be tricky and are known as Wildland Urban Interface. At these incidents, our Wildfire members who respond as REHAB have in the past, been pulled and assigned to fight the fire when possible.
there are five wednesdays in certain calendar months THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. what do Cadets do on the fifth wednesday, if there is one?
On the months with a fifth Wednesday, we dedicate that time to a social event. The social is completely optional, but gives Cadets an organized opportunity to become more invested and engaged in each other. In the past, the social has ranged from a fire station tour at the Port of Seattle Fire Department to ice skating with King County Sheriff Police Explorers to enjoying professional sports games to just hanging out and playing games.