Trades & Services
Firefighters control and extinguish fires to protect property, the environment and lives.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Firefighter do?
Firefighters control and extinguish fires to protect property, the environment and lives. They may also respond to other emergencies, including medical emergencies.
As a firefighter, you would:
- rescue victims from burning buildings and accident sites
- search burning buildings to locate fire victims
- administer first aid and CPR to injured persons
- dress in equipment such as fire-resistant clothing and breathing apparatus
- drive and operate fire fighting vehicles and equipment
- move toward the source of a fire, using knowledge of types of fires, construction design, building materials, and physical layout of properties
- 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
- inspect and maintain firefighting equipment and hydrants.
Key skills and interests
To become a firefighter, you would need:
- to enjoy helping people and contributing to community safety
- practical skills
- to be able to cope with the physical demands of the job
- medical fitness
- the ability to work under pressure
- the ability to work at heights and in confined spaces.
Working hours and conditions
Firefighters work shifts, which are generally several days on followed by several days off.
Firefighters are based at fire stations. They may sleep, eat, and remain on call at fire stations during shifts.
They respond to emergencies in fire fighting vehicles.
Firefighting work can be very dangerous. Firefighters wear uniforms, other protective clothing and breathing equipment when dealing with emergency incidents.
How to become an Firefighter?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a firefighter without formal qualifications, but employers usually require you to gain your junior secondary school certificate or equivalent. You would receive training on the job, including attending training courses.
Applicants undergo a staged selection process including written tests, psychological testing, interviews, physical aptitude testing, a medical examination, referee checks and a National Police Check. Applicants must pass each stage of the process in order to progress to the next stage.
Depending on the state in which you live, recruits undergo initial training. You may then be based at a fire station after the initial training period, in order to complete ongoing training, study and assessment. The process to become a qualified firefighter takes approximately three years.
To work as a firefighter, you must be an Australian citizen or have permanent resident status. Drivers’ licence requirements depend on the state in which you live. You must also obtain a Provide First Aid Certificate.
Employment of firefighters is projected to grow in line with the average for all occupations.
Jobs will be created as population growth creates the need for a full-time firefighting workforce. An increase in urban populations, where full-time firefighters are more common, is also expected to increase the demand for firefighters.
The ageing of the population will lead to an increased demand for emergency responders, including firefighters, to medical emergencies.