Young men and women who hope to become firefighters were asked to complete tough tasks Thursday at the 26th annual Cadet Academy.
The training sessions were held at the Naval Training Station in San Diego, said San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFD) spokesperson Monica Munoz.
NBC 7 spoke with the Cadet Chief Daniel Warren, who said the program has done more for him than he ever could have imagined.
"Just being able to put in effort both on ride alongs and these academies and even at home," said Warren. "It increases my work ethic."
Two-hundred cadets have to complete many tests that require a lot of strength and hard work, including having to climb a ladder in full gear with the hose in less than three minutes.
Not only are these cadets working to climb ladders, but they are also preparing to climb the career ladder by getting some experience in their field. They start at the bottom and work their way up to getting hired.
The program runs throughout the year, but during the summer, cadets attend a special week long camp to get some hands on training.
Warren hopes he'll become a firefighter soon.
"Being able to help the community, I grew up in Rancho Penasquitos," said Warren. "I am a born and raised San Diego native, so the idea of being able to serve the community and the neighborhood I grew up in is amazing."
Cadets can also get certified to ride along with fire crews by completing the training.
The Cadet Academy is held twice a year. Usually, it's only a week-long program, but this year the department has so many cadets that the program was broken up into two weeks, said Munoz.
There are about 80 firefighters in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department who started out as cadets, said Munoz.
The program is for men and women, ages 16 to 21, who are interested in learning about careers in firefighting and emergency medical services.