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Fire cadets turned firefighters helping fill the need in Wakulla County

Wakulla County fire cadets turned firefighters
Posted at 6:31 PM, Jun 02, 2023

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Right now, the need for first responders is at an all-time high. In Wakulla County this holds true for roles like EMTs, paramedics and firefighters. One program is helping change all of that. They're called fire cadets.

"It's an after school program where we get these kids high school age and we bring them in and we teach them stuff like CPR, first aide, medical," said Zach Carroll, Firefighter, Paramedic.

Recently 2 fire cadets graduated high school and are now on the path to full time firefighters.

"So I've been wanting to be apart of this community for a very long time," said Logan Richardson, Future Firefighter EMT.

Richardson said he caught the firefighter bug early on. Going on to be a fire cadet for 2 and half years while in high school. Even placing in competitions while being a part of the program.

"So we have like a bunk out drill where we're supposed to get in our gear as quickly as possible and that was for an individual trophy. I got second place for that," said Richardson.

His hobby is now helping fill a need for the county. Paramedic and fire cadet volunteer Zach Carroll has been in this field for 10 years. Seeing people come and go from the profession can make the job a bit difficult.

"Here in Wakulla you know its something we struggle with. Right now, we're short 3 paramedics," said Carroll.

Carroll said challenges such as lack of sleep, call volume, and the worst part, being exposed to traumatic situations are hard, though once fire cadet turned firefighter Kyle Randolph got a piece of the action he was sure he wanted in.

"We got a really cool call and I got to see everyone come together as a team and go to work and save someone's life. That's when I was like, I want to be a part of that," said Kyle Randolph, Firefighter EMT.

A choice Carroll hopes more people will make.

"We will hire single and put you through school," said Carroll.

Something both Richardson and Randolph agree was instrumental to their future.

"I would really encourage somebody to continue with this if they find any interest in the cadet program," said Richardson.