Across the QCA, volunteer fire departments are struggling to keep enough firefighters.
Today in Cordova, there was kids of all ages using fire extinguishers, trying on gear, and learning fire safety tricks.
It seems simple enough, but firefighters say it's these open houses drawing kids in for the long haul.
"That's how I got my start," says Anabelle Tanner, a cadet firefighter for Cordova Fire Department. "The fire trucks, seeing them, climbing in them and looking at all the gear."
Like many area fire departments, Cordova leaders say they wish they had more help.
"Anybody can become a firefighter," says Chief, Chuck Smalley. "It's just the commitment of time that is real difficult."
But year after year, they host these kinds of open houses.
"Kind of get them involved," Tanner adds. "We brought back our burn pan when we used the fire extinguishers."
And many times, the littlest ones end up being the ones that keep coming back.
Cordova Fire even has a cadet program setup for kids ages 16 through 18.
"They were kind of clueless to begin with," says Triston Dalaska.
After they are trained like professional firefighters, they can move up and make it official.
"I was 16, and went through my first training - a live fire," says Jordan Barber, a former cadet and current volunteer firefighter in Cordova. "That's when I knew I wanted to be a firefighter."
The program has been going on for nearly 20 years, and the fire chief says it's it has helped out everyone.
"You know not everybody is going to stay with it but for the most part they have," Smalley adds. "Some of my kids have been out there doing the pan fires and that. They started as cadets and now they're turning 18 and they going to school and being paramedics and moving on with a career."
"Just come up here and try it," Barber suggests. "If you don't like it, you don't like it. If you like it, we're glad to have you on board."
The Cordova Fire Department is accepting new candidates for its cadet program now. All you have to do is go to the fire station to sign up.
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