Cadet Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Cadet Applications Will Be Available November 1, 2019


What’s a cadet?

A cadet is a high school student who rides on a regular duty crew at our squad. Our squad is unique in the area because every cadet becomes a certified New Jersey State Department of Health Emergency Medical Technician. Our cadets earn the same EMT certification as our adult members and have many of the same responsibilities as the adults.


Who’s eligible to be a MSHVFAS cadet?

Cadet applicants must be sophomores and residents of Millburn or Short Hills, though they don’t have to attend Millburn High School to participate. We interview sophomores in December each year, then they ride as juniors and seniors. The State of New Jersey requires EMTs to be 16 by the day their EMT class starts. The 2018 cutoff was age 16 by July 9, the first day of the latest summer EMT school. The exact day can vary slightly year to year.


How many cadets do you have?

Our squad’s bylaws allow for 12 cadets each year. We have six juniors and six seniors and every cadet rides for two years. Every fall we select 6 new sophomores who will ride as juniors and seniors.


What if I turn 16 after mid July? 

Unfortunately you’d be unable to apply to be a cadet at our squad. (The state requires that students be at least 16 by the first day of EMT school, which can vary by a day or two each year.)


What if I’m a junior this year?

Sometimes we have an opening for a junior, so you should apply, but it’s unlikely that we’ll have a spot. Every cadet rides for two years, during their junior and senior years of high school. That’s why we focus on recruiting sophomores. After you graduate from high school you will be able to apply to be a student member. These EMTs ride during the summer and their breaks from college. 


How are cadets selected?

The cadet application will be available November 1. In December, candidates will interview with the cadet captains, the cadet adviser and the squad captain, as well as other adult members. We are looking for the professionalism, enthusiasm and attitude that make our cadets valuable members of every crew. We get excited about candidates who have volunteer experience or a plan for a future path in healthcare. While we’re parents ourselves and we get that moms and dads want their students to succeed, we always want to hear from the student directly. A good handshake and eye contact help a lot, too!

How much does training cost?

Training is provided free of charge. The squad will provide your BLS CPR training for free and the New Jersey State Training Fund covers the $1,500 cost of EMT school. You will be responsible for buying the textbook and workbook, a stethoscope and a blood-pressure cuff for school and a uniform, but don’t buy anything until we tell you to! If you’re unable to cover the cost of these materials, we will figure out a way to get them for you.


What do cadets do on the ambulance?

Cadets serve as the third or fourth EMT on our crews. Our squad responds to all 9-1-1 medical calls in Millburn and Short Hills. Just like our adult EMTs, cadets provide CPR, bandage wounds, lift and move patients, take vitals, record patient information and more. They help transport patients to the hospital and hand off their medical care to doctors and nurses. They will respond to falls, traumatic injuries, motor-vehicle accidents, medical emergencies and more.


Is there anything cadets can’t do?

Because of our insurance requirements, cadets cannot become ambulance drivers. From time to time, in the interest of our teens’ mental health and physical safety, cadets will be removed from potentially upsetting or dangerous scenes. Cadets may not work past 11pm or spend the night at the squad building.


What does EMT school require?

EMT school is a demanding and time-consuming 3-month class that requires perfect attendance. During the academic year, EMT school is offered at the squad building, evenings and weekends, by an outside training company. Summer classes can be found at Union County College or other squads. Students will be issued a 1300-page textbook that must be read cover to cover. The school will have lectures, regular written tests and practical (skills) exams, as well as a final exam. All students are required to work for 10 hours in the ER, usually at JFK Medical Center. All students must take the state EMT exam and pass with at least a 70% score.


EMT school is about 200 hours long and reading and studying for exams will take a lot of time. It is challenging to take it during the school year on top of regular school work, so many cadets take it in the summer. Please carefully consider how much additional work is required before you add it to your regular school class load.


Do cadets get paid?

Nobody on the squad gets paid. In fact, in its 60-year history the squad has always been staffed 24/7 with volunteers. We have never sent a single bill to any patient in the history of the squad. We also don’t receive tax dollars or public funds. The squad is 100% supported by donations.

What time commitment is required after EMT school?

While adult EMTs work around the clock, cadets work shorter shifts. Cadets are assigned to a weekly shift from either 3pm to 7pm or 7pm to 11pm. Two cadets work on Sundays, either in the mornings or the afternoons. All cadets work one 12-hour Saturday day shift every 12 weeks. Cadets also attend event standbys, concerts and parades to represent the squad. We have an evening cadet training every four to six weeks, but school comes first.


The state EMT certification requires that all EMTs take continuing education units to maintain their certifications. These trainings are offered at our squad or for free at the hospitals or other training sites. It is up to each EMT to attend these classes and maintain their own certification.  


Is my 16-year-old mature enough to be a first responder?

This is a tough question that only you and your student can answer. While we make every effort to protect the safety and mental health of all of our crew members, the cadets are real EMTs who see real crises. They will perform CPR on patients, respond to motor-vehicle accidents and sometimes encounter people they know as they work in our community. Please have a conversation at home and discuss this concern as a family. Our adult leaders take this issue very seriously and are happy to discuss it with you.


Do I need a uniform?

Yes. You will need pants and boots, but don’t buy anything until our advisers can clarify what you need. You’ll also need to buy the textbook, a stethoscope and a blood-pressure cuff. The squad will provide a shirt and a jacket. Uniforms are only to be worn during squad events and duty shifts. Some EMT schools require a squad uniform for their students.


Any other questions can be addressed to our cadet team at