GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Eight cadets were all smiles Thursday as they officially joined Greenville Fire/Rescue during a commencement ceremony.

The cadets took a big step in a career that Greenville Fire Chief Carson Sanders said requires a lot of dedication.

“So the thing about the fire department that a lot of people I don’t think realize is that we work 24 hours at a time,” Sanders said. “So we come on in the morning, and we don’t get off until the next morning. And so that schedule is pretty rigid.”

Cadets said working through that tough schedule is worth it.

“One thing about being on that shift is at the end of the day when you go home after that 24 hours, you know that you did your best to make a difference in somebody’s life,” cadet Eric Mackey said. “There’s no feeling quite like it.”

Sanders said the department’s call volume increases when summer ends.

“We have ECU football games getting ready to start, kids are back in school,” Sanders said. “So obviously our call volume goes up. So this just supplements our staffing and makes sure that we are ready to respond and able to respond to everything that may happen.”

Cadets in the program learn how to handle all kinds of scenarios.

“There is literally everything — we vented rooms, entered doors, stayed low, worked in smoky conditions,” said cadet Nicholas Horvath.

Cadets also completed 800 hours of physical and mental training.

“It’s one of my favorite days. I love to welcome people into the family. Greenville Fire Rescue really is a family,” said Sanders.

Sanders said even though Greenville Fire/Rescue is a relatively young department, he’s confident in the department’s abilities. He also said they are continually hiring and encourages anyone to apply.

For more information on how to apply, visit Career Info.