Fire Fighters prevent the loss of life or property due to fire. They perform a variety of tasks including aircraft rescue, structural, wild land and shipboard fire fighting, automobile extrication, hazardous material, and confined space/high-angle rescue. Fire investigation, fire prevention and life safety inspection are also areas of expertise.
The primary responsibilities of Fire Fighters are to:
- Perform rescue, extinguishment, ventilation, overhaul and forcible entry operations
- Drive and operate all types of fire fighting vehicles used by the Canadian Forces
- Inspect and test fixed fire suppression and detection systems
- Maintain Fire Department ancillary equipment such as ladders, hose, rope, breathing apparatus, extinguishers, personal protective equipment and all associated rescue equipment and vehicles
- Perform inspector duties, conduct inspections and project reviews, and provide recommendations and corrective measures
- Provide peer and public instruction and education
- Respond to hazardous material, automobile extrication, confined space and high-angle rescue situations
- Investigate fires
- Provide helicopter rescue and damage control services as a member of a fire fighting team while onboard ships
- Respond as part of an Airfield Engineering Squadron
- Respond to aircraft cable engagements and provide Mobile Arrestor Gear skills
- Perform Emergency Medical Response
Although members of the Air Force, Fire Fighters may work to support Royal Canadian Navy, Army or Royal Canadian Air Force operations. Fire Fighters provide fire protection 24 hours a day on a rotational basis. Operations and maintenance of the Fire Department is normally based on a four platoon system, in addition to a day staff that includes the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief and Inspectors. After four years, the Fire Fighter must spend approximately three years as a Corporal, onboard hips. During their career, Fire Fighters will normally serve three tours in a naval environment. Appropriate training, environmental clothing and equipment are provided.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Fire Fighter is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Fire Fighters serve with the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada, onboard ship and in peacekeeping deployments. Fire Fighters who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training. As senior Fire Fighter, provide command and control at the site of a fire and function as Fire Chief on military bases, ships and army encampments. Those who demonstrate the required ability and ambition have the opportunity to progress to the position of Fire Chief.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Armed Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Fire Fighters attend the Canadian Armed Forces School of Administration and Logistics and the Canadian Armed Forces Fire Academy in Borden, Ontario. Training takes approximately 14 weeks and includes the following topics:
- Operation of fire apparatus
- Structural operations at the site of a fire
- Fire and life safety practices
- Aircraft rescue fire fighting operations
- Rescue during situations presenting special problems
- Operation of portable fire extinguishers
- Operation of fire apparatus ancillary equipment
- Wild land operations at the site of a fire
- Map reading
- Achieving and maintaining physical fitness standards
- Hazardous Material Awareness
Fire Fighters may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Structural Fire Fighter
- Airport Fire Fighter
- Fire Inspector
- Fire Investigator
- Fire Instructor
- Hazardous Material Incident Commander
- Fire Officer
- Hazardous Material Technician
The minimum required education for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Canada. Foreign education may be accepted. However, it is highly recommended that applicants possess a high school diploma, including Grade 11 or Secondaire IV academic math and one science course.
Applicants to the Fire Fighter occupation must have a valid driver’s license.
If you already have a college diploma, the Canadian Forces will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.
Fire Fighter is a very popular occupation and, as a result, very competitive. Successful applicants often have additional education in a related field or previous experience as a full- or part-time fire fighter.
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialise skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.