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story.lead_photo.caption A fire department's hoses can look like big snakes. Helping firefighter James Ragsdale, left, stretch the hose is Kendall Collins with fire cadets Dylan Noble, Cameron Hardin and Asa Revey.

A fire department's hoses need to be checked regularly. A district's favorable insurance rates depend upon equipment being in top shape.

Gallery: Fire department gets some help from cadets to test hoses

Cass County Emergency Services District No. 2 has 14 trucks and each takes about two hours to test its hoses.

So, for the district, a good plan is getting some help from the fire cadets and their youthful muscles.

That's where the department was recently on meeting night on Queen City's First Baptist Church parking lot—pumping water high into the air from a fire hydrant, using pumper truck Engine Number 64 and hundreds of feet of hose laying on the ground.

Fire cadets are 30 youngsters from 10 to 17 years of age who want to be firefighters. They help when needed with the departments of the emergency district, including Atlanta.

After being a fire cadet, an individual can be voted into a volunteer fire department at age 18.

"I love it," said one of the youth in attendance. "But it sure takes a lot of training."

He means that every Tuesday weekly meeting night at the station in Queen City includes training on some aspect of firefighting.

"If a hose is going to blow out, have it do so on a testing night," fireman Eric White said.

Fire trucks will usually have 1,500 feet of supply hose and several hundred feet of attack lines.

Getting the hoses off the truck is pretty easy, but getting them in back is harder.

The cadets help us do this in a big way, White said. "It's a labor-intensive job."

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