How to become a Firefighter

Firefighters control and extinguish fires, manage hazardous incidents, provide education to the community in fire prevention techniques and protect life, property and the environment.

Personal requirements for a Firefighter

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Capacity to consistently demonstrate respect towards colleagues, the community and all others
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to work within and contribute effectively to, a small team working in close proximity
  • Enjoy practical work
  • Ability to exercise self-discipline and use sound judgement in ensuring assigned tasks are completed
  • Capacity to acquire new skills and demonstrate a problem-solving ability
  • Able to cope with physical demands
  • Able to pass a medical examination
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Able to work at heights and in confined spaces
  • Willing to undertake ongoing training and professional development

Education & Training for a Firefighter

Minimum educational qualifications may vary from State to State. You will receive training on the job and through in-house training courses. Applicants who meet the basic criteria must pass a range of clearances and assessments. This includes an interview, character reference check, National Police Check, medical examination and fitness assessment. If you are successful, you will attend a training course. Durations vary between states and are followed by an extended period of training, study and assessment. Contact the fire authority in your state or territory for more information.


Additional information

Firefighters need to have Australian citizenship or permanent residency. You will be required have a current drivers license and undergo a National Police Check and medical examination.

Duties & Tasks of a Firefighter

Firefighters:

  • Respond to emergency calls regarding fires, vehicle accidents, rescues and other emergency situations
  • Undertake activities designed to prevent fires and help communities prepare for emergency situations
  • Drive or crew firefighting appliances or other vehicles to fires or incident scenes
  • Provide support in response to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones
  • Operate pumps and spray foam or water from hoses, portable extinguishers or other appliances to extinguish fires, or to disperse or neutralise dangerous substances such as chemicals and petroleum
  • Rescue people stranded or trapped in dangerous situations or inaccessible places using ladders or elevating platforms, or by cutting openings in buildings or crashed vehicles to free occupants
  • Respond to industrial accidents
  • Administer first aid and oxygen therapy
  • Communicate with other emergency response personnel using radios, computers and other communication technology
  • Take part in ongoing training in firefighting techniques and professional development
  • Visit buildings to assess entry/exit points and locations of hydrants, identify potential fire hazards and ensure they comply with fire codes
  • Inspect and maintain firefighting equipment and hydrants
  • Undertake public education tasks, including school visits, demonstrations, first aid, firefighting training and lectures
  • Undertake administrative duties
  • Train industrial and volunteer firefighters.

Tasks

  • Prepares reports, authorises the release of information and handles public relations activities..
  • Makes policy decisions and accepts responsibility for operations, performance of staff, achievement of targets and adherence to budgets, standards and procedures..
  • Prepares budgets and other management plans..
  • Represents the organisation in dealings with other organisations and the public..
  • Establishes lines of control and delegates responsibilities to subordinate staff..
  • Controls the collection and interpretation of management information to monitor performance..
  • Establishes administrative and operational procedures by taking account of the organisation's operating environment..
  • Controls the use of, and accounting for, the assets and facilities of the organisation..

Working conditions for a Firefighter

Firefighters wear uniforms, breathing apparatus and other personal protective equipment when dealing with emergency incidents. They are required to work both day and night shifts in order to maintain a 24-hour service.


Employment Opportunities for a Firefighter

The major employers of firefighters are state and territory fire authorities. Applications are typically accepted through the year. Competition for available positions is very strong. Federal and state public services and some large commercial and industrial organisations employ experienced firefighters as fire prevention officers. Local governments in rural locations employ firefighters as bushfire prevention officers.


Specializations

Firefighter

Firefighters control and extinguish fires, manage hazardous incidents, provide education to the community in fire prevention techniques and protect life, property and the environment.

  • Average age
    Average age
    50 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    7% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    47 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $2,834
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    97% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,400 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 2.0%
    NSW: 29.8%
    NT: 2.1%
    QLD: 20.0%
    SA: 7.8%
    TAS: 3.7%
    VIC: 22.1%
    WA: 12.2%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 0.3%
    25-34: 5.2%
    35-44: 23.8%
    45-54: 44.1%
    55-59: 19%
    60-64: 6.2%
    65 and Over: 1.3%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 38%
    Bachelor degree: 10.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 29.9%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 13.1%
    Year 10 and below: 1.9%
    Year 11: 1.5%
    Year 12: 5.2%
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