If you are thinking about pursuing a career in the Fire Service, we encourage you to continue reading this manual to gain an in depth understanding some of the steps and requirements. Each community or fire service may have a variation to the steps:
Becoming a firefighter takes time and effort, but when you succeed, you will have found the career that will keep you engaged and fulfilled for the duration of your professional life.
The type of people the fire service is looking for has changed. Today, firefighters represent the diverse nature of the community we serve. We are looking for firefighters who are mature, well- educated and team-oriented.
We encourage women and ethnically diverse candidates to bring their own unique strengths and experiences to the Fire Service. Our diversity strengthens us and improves our ability to serve our community.
Compensation and Hours of Work
The Fire Service offers excellent pay and benefits. Firefighters will receive a comprehensive benefit and pension package and attractive starting wages. These terms of employment are represented by each City or Department’s Collective Agreement
The firefighter’s hours of work are based on a 4-on, 4-off schedule (4 days of work followed by 4 days of rest) consisting of two (10 hour) day shifts followed by two (14 hour) night shifts followed by 96 hours off. During each shift, crews cook and eat one meal together and have time to maintain their physical fitness in the Fire Halls’ fitness centers.
During their shifts, firefighters engage in a variety of activities, such as emergency response, annual fire inspections, Hall chores, vehicle and equipment checks, training, and Hall assigned tasks.
Outside of working hours, firefighters may take part in many charitable functions
Factors for Consideration
Like any career, there are challenges to working as a firefighter. Make sure you understand what you are committing to prior to pursuing all of the required certifications. Things to consider include:
- Rotating shifts require firefighter to work a majority of weekends and statutory holidays.
- Shift work may require firefighters to make significant adjustments to their personal schedule
- Shift work also requires firefighters to be away from home over night on a regular basis.
- The work of a firefighter is physically demanding.
- Firefighters must maintain their physical fitness and lead a healthy lifestyle to perform their duties safely and to guard against the health risks of the job, which include heart disease and several forms of cancer.
- The work of a firefighter will expose you to tragic and traumatic incidents.
- Firefighters must be the kind of people who have the emotional fortitude, healthy coping mechanisms, and mental resiliency to deal with these situation
Typical Required Job Qualifications:
- NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter II
- NFPA 1072 Haz Mat Awareness and Operations
Some Preferred Qualifications:
- One year of post-secondary education or two years of an apprenticeship program, supported by official transcript Military training and qualifications are recognized as post- secondary credits.
- Work experience related to firefighting, such as auxiliary/volunteer firefighter, forestry firefighter or paramedic
- Trades experience (demonstrating mechanical aptitude)
- A history of volunteerism and community participation
- Fluency in multiple languages and an understanding of the diverse cultures
- Additional fire service related courses not included in NFPA 1001 training
- A work history demonstrating dependability, a strong work ethic and initiative
- Participation in team sports and on-going physical fitness activities
Amassing all of the required and preferred qualifications takes time, dedication and financial resources. Again, we encourage you to reflect fully on these factors prior to committing yourself to becoming a firefighter.