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Firefighter Cadet Academy

Established in 2020, the Brooklyn Park Fire/EMS Cadet Academy (Academy) is a challenging and rewarding 14+ week comprehensive training program designed to prepare and train new career firefighters.  Knowledge obtained from classroom instruction is applied in the field in practical hands-on exercises and scenarios that reflect the real-world.  The Academy seeks to graduate highly qualified and well-trained Firefighter Cadets so that they can be promoted to Firefighter. 

The paramilitary structure of the Academy is designed to instill a sense of pride in oneself, the organization and the community.  This strategy results in a sense of ownership throughout the organization and will lead to career satisfaction and long-term retention.

While in the Academy, Cadets are full-time City employees and are assigned to a 40 hour/week schedule.

Academy Overview

The Academy is a multi-month program that prepares individuals for entry-level employment into the Brooklyn Park Fire Department.  Emphasis is placed in five primary areas: structural firefighting, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, physical fitness, and community engagement.  The Academy will focus on classroom lectures that serve as the foundation for challenging hands-on training.  Cadets will demonstrate mastery of their skills during a “skills assessment week” that involves several fireground speed evolutions, live and simulated fires, rescue, and medical calls.  This method promotes skills competency and muscle memory in high-stress situations, mimicking real-world conditions on the emergency scene.

Cadets must successfully graduate from the Academy, which includes obtaining the required fire and medical certifications/licenses, to be appointed as a Firefighter with the City.  The Academy concludes with a formal graduation ceremony.  The graduation ceremony is open to the public and attended by families, Fire Department staff, public officials, and other dignitaries.

Academy Organization

The Academy’s curriculum was developed to meet the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Minnesota Fire Service Certification Board, the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, and the Brooklyn Park Fire Department.

Pre-Academy Orientation

Cadets will attend an orientation session that will cover workplace conduct, drug and alcohol policies, risk management, payroll, and other City/HR-related topics.  The orientation sessions will also consist of an overview of the Academy and the career of a firefighter.  Cadets will be encouraged to invite anyone within their support network to learn more about the Academy and the Fire Department.

Academy Curriculum

Phase 1: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

The EMT curriculum consists of four parts.  Cadets must complete all four sections to be eligible to take the national certifying exam and to become licensed as an EMT.  Cadets must complete this phase in order to proceed further in the program.

Phase 2: NFPA Firefighter I

The Firefighter I curriculum is designed to give Cadets the cognitive and practical training needed to operate safely and effectively on the fireground.  The course meets the training and education standards for Firefighter I, as identified in NFPA 1001 standards.  This entry-level firefighter training focuses on an intense hands-on approach to firefighting which promotes both skill competency and an understanding of the fireground.  Upon successful completion of this module, the Cadets will be able to demonstrate proficiency with the following content:

  • General fire service knowledge and skill requirements.
  • Fire department communications.
  • Fireground operations (fire suppression, ventilation, high-rise operations, search, etc.)
  • Rescue operations.
  • Preparedness and maintenance.
  • Hazardous materials & weapons of mass destruction (WMD) awareness and operations.
  • Courage to be Safe – Sixteen Life Safety Initiatives

Phase 3: NFPA Firefighter II

The Firefighter II curriculum is designed to give Cadets the cognitive and practical trained needed to operate safely and effectively on the fireground.  The course meets the training and education standards for Firefighter II, as identified in NFPA 1001 standards.  Upon successful completion of this module, the Cadets will be able to demonstrate proficiency with the following content:

  • Building construction hazards and structural collapse.
  • Vehicle extrication.
  • Maintenance and testing of equipment.
  • Firefighting foam.
  • Coordinating fireground operations.
  • Fire origin and cause determination.
  • Fire protection systems.
  • Conducting private dwelling fire safety surveys.
  • Firefighter safety and survival.
  • Emergency challenges.

Phase 4: Enhanced Fire Department Training

This phase includes a deeper dive into Brooklyn Park’s practices, standard operating procedures, and policies.  Cadets to operate within the existing Department framework that allows for continuity of operations throughout the organization and a higher level of service delivery to the community.

This module also allows Cadets to progressively build upon skills learned in phases 1-3.  This module includes realistic scenario training that will build confidence in skills and will train recruits on the entire response sequence.  This training more closely mimics real-world conditions, where multiple skills are used together, and teamwork is needed to produce the desired outcomes.  This phase of training is essential to ensure the Cadets can respond effectively to any emergency.

Phase 5: Field Training Program

As Cadets transition into the role of a Firefighter, they will participate in a field training program.  This module is designed to ensure that all new Firefighters have the support and feedback required to be successful in the organization.  This module provides a means to gauge the new Firefighter’s ability to apply the concepts and skills learned.  Throughout this period, recruits will complete a task book to meet additional training objectives and further strengthen their skills as a Firefighter. 

Testing, Certifications, and Licensing

The Academy will provide Cadets with thousands of hours of classroom and hands-on learning opportunities.  Cadets will be tested on and be required to obtain certification in the following areas:

Cadets will also participate in emergency vehicle operations and pump training.

Cadets must also be eligible to obtain licensure as a Firefighter by the State of Minnesota in accordance with (Minnesota Statute 299N).

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am already certified and/or licensed, do I still need to complete the Academy?

Yes, all Cadets must successfully complete the Academy program including all applicable testing and certification exams.  Prior fire, medical, and public safety is a plus but not required.

Individuals seeking a lateral hire opportunity can apply under that classification.  Lateral firefighters will still be required to successfully complete a field training program.

Is this similar to other fire academy programs?

The Brooklyn Park Fire/EMS Cadet Academy has been specifically designed to provide hundreds of hours of classroom and hands-on training to provide Cadets with the necessary learning opportunities and skills to be successful as a career firefighter with the Brooklyn Park Fire Department.  The Academy has been modeled from other full-time career academies and has additional content and modules designed to ensure Cadets are physically and mentally ready for the job of a career firefighter.  The Academy includes regular physical fitness activities.  Additional coursework about mental health and cancer prevention is also included.

Am I paid while I am in the Academy?

Yes!  All Cadets are full-time City of Brooklyn Park employees.  The Fire Cadet must successfully graduate from the BPFD Fire/EMS Cadet Academy, which includes obtaining the required fire and medical certifications/licenses, to be appointed as a Firefighter with the City.  Cadets who are not appointed to the classification of Firefighter at the end of their on-the-job training will be subject to termination of their status and/or City employment.