‘Keep trying and don't give up.’ Bridgeport fire cadets gear up to take CPAT exam

The cadets have been training for the past six months for the CPAT.

Angelica Toruno and Robyn Karashik

Jun 25, 2024, 9:01 PM

Updated 25 days ago


Three cadets from the Bridgeport Fire Cadet Program are gearing up to take the Candidate Physical Ability Test in the fall – which determines if they are equipped to work in the field.
The program is a partnership between the Bridgeport Fire Department, Wakeman Boys and Girls Club and the Bridgeport Military Academy.
Students range between 15 to 18 years old.
For the past six months, it has been preparing cadets for what it takes to be a firefighter through extensive training. They have run through a number of possible scenarios a firefighter-in-training would normally be exposed to.
"I'm excited but also nervous,” said student leader Cadet Jayden Rivera.
"It's fun for me. I'm pretty excited,” said Cadet Anthony Johnson.
"Keep trying and don't give up,” said Cadet Ashira John.
Each of them grew up in Bridgeport.
Program leaders say it was made specifically for youth like them.
"Learning a career that's going to provide them an opportunity to help others in the city they grew up in, it's just a wonderful opportunity,” said program director and Fairfield Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola.
Gomola said the program teaches them everything they need to know to be able to wear the uniform.
"There's things we want to do that we don't always have the ability to do,” said Rivera. "It really gives us the opportunity to learn ourselves and learn what we want to do with ourselves."
"I actually like helping people, it's always something I wanted to do. The neighborhood that I'm from, it's not too good,” said Johnson. “But it's always something I wanted to do."
"Oh, I want to be a firefighter,” said John. “With programs like this, it builds you up."
The recruits and fire department work hand in hand – they even train and work on the same grounds together.
"They're surprising me now and I can only imagine what's going to happen in five-to 10 years,” said Gomola.
This class of cadets are at their tail end of their program, but Gomola said they need more funding to continue.
It’s funded through the cannabis tax, which helps to give back to communities impacted by the drug crisis.

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