What It's All About
It is vital for our community to have emergency medical services. In New Jersey suburbs and rural areas EMS is provided by volunteers. Our volunteer members enjoy the personal challenges, the camaraderie, and the opportunity to serve others. Cadet members are for the most part treated as adult peers and they enjoy the same benefits as the adult members.
Most programs for children exist for the benefit and growth of the child. The Plainsboro Rescue Squad has as its first and only mission quality emergency medical service to the community. Therefore, the cadet organization also exists for the benefit of the community – not for the benefit of the cadets. The cadet organization does not exist to enhance college or scholarship applications.
Parents who join with their children have benefited greatly by learning together, studying together, and providing a vital community service together. Parent/child teams grow closer while riding and their relationship remains closer for many years – even after the cadet has left for college or graduated and moved away.
Note that this is not an auxiliary organization. The cadets will go on real 9‐1‐1 medical emergencies and will be required to act maturely and provide emergency medical care as directed by the officer in charge (OIC). Cadets less than 18 years old will be excluded whenever possible from riding on calls involving substance abuse, hazardous materials, violence and crime scenes.
Parents should understand that squad membership is a commitment. The cadet will have a required shift and the cadet must fulfill his/her shift or find a suitable replacement. This requirement is critical to the cadet maintaining his/her membership regardless of any restrictions made by the parents. That is, if the parent prevents the cadet from fulfilling an obligation, it will be considered that the cadet his/herself has failed to fulfill the obligation. When the cadet arrives at the building, the adult staff will do their best to keep the cadet safe and may order them to stand down from potentially hazardous scenes. When a cadet is due to be at the building, they must arrive on time.
Cadet Training Requirements
Every riding member is expected to become an Emergency Medical Technician within one year of becoming a member. There are a number of options including weekend‐only classes, two evenings per week, and summer daily classes. The summer classes fill up very quickly and it can be difficult to register. The format and content of EMT classes is strictly regulated by the State. It is hard work, but many of our past cadets have managed a full load of honors classes while attending EMT class two evenings per week and keeping their riding shift.
Cadet Membership Guidelines
1) New cadets range in age from 14 to 17 and may remain a cadet until 22 years old.
2) There are three cadet categories:
a. Junior Cadet - those aged 14 and 15 (will not be allowed to ride on emergency calls)
b. Local Active Riding – able to ride a weekly shift
c. Absent Active Riding – away at college, but returning on breaks
3) The executive board will set a limit on the number of Local Active Riding cadets. The limit will normally be 7 – one cadet per weekly shift.
4) Cadets 18-22 years old will have all of the riding privileges of adult members, but will not have individual voting rights.
5) Cadets may apply for adult membership after reaching the age of 18 and graduation from high school.
1) Cadets are required to become eligible to ride within 4 months of becoming members.
2) Cadets must fulfill a regular duty shift (up to 10pm) one night per week.
3) All riding members (including cadets) are also required to ride at least three weekend days per quarter. A weekend day shift runs from 6am to 6pm.
4) Cadets will be required to change their riding night each quarter. If there are unavoidable conflicts, a specific night (or two) can be avoided.
5) Each cadet is required to become a member of at least one committee. As a committee member, the cadet must attend meetings and contribute to the committee’s goals.
6) Cadets are required to attend most monthly cadet meetings, cadet drills, and regular squad drills.
7) Cadets are required to be active in other cadet activities that are held for community or squad benefits.
8) As with adults, cadets are required to become EMTs within the first year of membership.
9) Cadets must maintain good grades in school. Academics remains a top priority. While other extracurricular activities are acceptable (chorus, music lessons, scouting, etc.), they must not interfere with the cadet’s obligations as a squad member.
1) Cadets may apply for cadet membership at any time. However, the candidate must reach the age of 15 years and 9 months prior to becoming a cadet member.
2) An interview process will rank all prospective cadet members. The rankings will be indicated by a grade from A through F. Any cadet with a grade below B will be encouraged to withdraw his/her application.
3) Cadet applications will be ordered based on qualities identified in the interview and references. Length of time on the waiting list will only be used in the event of a tie.
4) Once a position is open, the cadet will be invited to attend the next general meeting to be voted into membership. If the cadet is not available, the next candidate on the list will be invited to attend.
Cadets involved in criminal activity, vandalism, behavioral problems, or substance abuse will immediately be expelled from the cadet program. There will be no second chances.
The cadet advisor(s) will issue two grades (A‐F) each quarter or more frequently if the advisor(s) deem appropriate. One grade will be for participation and the other for effective contribution to the community and the squad. Any cadet receiving a grade below C should be consulted for improvement and considered for expulsion.
At least two times per year, the executive board should review all cadet grades along with the cadet advisors. Any cadets with substandard performance should be expelled from the cadet program.
Weekly Riding Hours
At least one parent or guardian is required to sign this permission form before a cadet is allowed to join the squad. The parent can restrict the hours that the cadet rides, but it must allow at least from 8 PM to 10 PM one night per week. The choice of nights that the cadets ride will be negotiated to meet the needs of the squad and the cadet. If a shift ends at 10 PM, that means that the last call taken will be at 10 PM. Most calls are completed in under an hour, but it is possible (though rare) that a call could go on for 2 hours. A cadet may ride all night on non‐school nights if he/she has reliable transportation to respond to a call, or if an adult member agrees to stay with the cadet at the building. If practical, a crew member may drive the cadet home at the conclusion of the call or shift.
A special note for high-school students interested in our cadet program and their parents:
We are not seeking students who want to fulfill a minimum requirement for community service. Our cadet organization does not exist to enhance college resume applications. We are looking for mature individuals with a commitment to performing the duties required during a medical emergency.
This is not a club like scouting or 4H. Our cadets respond to actual 911 emergencies. They are expected to study to become Emergency Medical Technicians and they are expected to act like mature adults at all times when on duty.
The cadet program is great fun and highly rewarding, but it is a lot of work. And parents, that often involves you too, especially if your child needs a ride to our building for the activities.
The membership application process is detailed here.
For new cadet members at the Squad, the overnight riding permission form and Cadet Program details are available here.