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How to prepare for a career with the MFD

Are you prepared to become a Fire Cadet or Firefighter?

Milwaukee Firefighters and Fire Cadets are among some of the most highly trained emergency response professionals in the nation.  As an all hazards response organization, MFD firefighters have to be diversely skilled in operational areas that range from firefighting basic life support to advanced life support (which includes the insertion of advanced airways and the administration of cardiac drugs) to technical rescue.  Even in non-emergency situations Milwaukee Firefighters are tasked with teaching residents about life safety interventions in patients homes. Although it may be surprising to some, most individuals find the academics of the training academy to be more challenging than the physical requirements.  The links and resources below will help you prepare to enter the academy.

Academic Resources

Math Skills:  Khan academy ( is totally free web based resource that helps develop skills in math and other areas.  Individuals should work to develop their math and science literacy skills in preparation for EMT or Paramedic coursework. Khan academy offers curriculum spanning from basic math to calculus.  If you want to sign up for a "class" that only consists of arithmetic and algebra and enables you to view your progress compared to other firefighter or fire cadet applicants, you can use the instructions below.

  1. Sign up at (or log in if you already have an account).
  2. Visit (the “Coaches” tab in your profile).
  3. In the “Add a coach” field, enter the class code: VWFMMB9W
  4. You’re set. Now click Home to start learning!

Reading Comprehension: Read Theory (, like Khan academy, is a totally free website that assess reading comprehension and offers free exercises to improve reading comprehension. Wether preparing for firefighting or medical academics, this website will help students and adult learners alike.  If you want to sign up and view your progress compared to other firefighter or fire cadet applicants, you can use the instructions below.

  1. Navigate to on any device (computer, tablet, mobile).
  2. Sign up as a student and log in.
  3. Go to the the "My Teachers" page.
  4. Enter in the space provided.
  5. Click the "Send Invitation" button.

Science Review: Coursera ( is a hosting website for thousands of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses).  The MOOCs hosted by coursera cover every subject imaginable and while some can be taken for college credit (for a fee) all are free. There are MOOCs available for anatomy and physiology and basic biology at the college level which can be very helpful for adults who have been away from formal learning for a while and need to get re-acclimated to classwork. 

Physical Fitness Resources: Modern firefighting training is more focused on functional fitness that brute strength.  Our training focuses on strength, conditioning, nutrition and injury prevention.  The playlist below include body weight exercises that do not require any equipment, while at the same time building upper body, core and lower body strength.  These exercises are suitable for someone entering the Junior Fire institute or someone who desires to become a Fire Cadet or Recruit.

Local Fitness Resources: Its often much easier to adopt a lifestyle of fitness when you take part in group exercises.  While there are dozens of local personal trainers and gyms in the metro area, the links below all feature groups in Milwukee that host free fitness activities at least weekly.

Milwaukee's Free Fitness Groups

Groups are listed in alphabetical order.  The MFD does not endorse any of these groups over another.

Emotional Support: Training to become a Fire Cadet or a Firefighter is academically, emotionally and physically demanding.  Preparing for a career in firefighting extends beyond the training day, as cadets and recruits spend hours each night studying as well as attending study groups on the weekends.  Cadets and recruits can expect to experience dramatic changes their diets to meet their body’s caloric needs, changes to their personal schedules to accommodate study time and increased amounts of dirty laundry.  One of the most important parts of this transitional phase is for cadets and recruits to have the support of their families, friends and loved ones.

Becoming a Milwaukee Firefighter is not an individual effort.  In the months and weeks that lead up to an academy or cadet class, applicants for Fire Cadet and Firefighter Recruit should make a conscience effort to build a support team that will help with the above tasks, as well as child care, transportation and other normal household duties that will likely become a lower priority during the training period. Members of the support team should be able to provide a quiet place and time to study and to be very flexible when it comes to scheduling special events during the training period in addition to the previously mentioned items.  Assisting with laundry, meal preparation, transportation and quizzing are also great ways to help a person succeed in our training programs. The support of families and friends multiply the efforts of our training staff and will exponentially increase the odds of successfully completing the training academy.  With this team approach we can turn normal people into some of the best firefighters in the world.


*The Milwukee Fire Department doesn't specifically endorse any particular preparation regemin or activity.  The resources onthis page are offered as free resources, but can be supplimented or wholly replaced with other activities that may prove more valuabel for the individual applicant.

Milwaukee Fire Department Employment Opportunities