What They Do
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
- Inspect and test fixed fire suppression and detection systems
- Maintain Fire Department 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 in order to make recommendations and corrective measures
- Provide peer and public instruction and education
- 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, Canadian Army or Royal Canadian Air Force operations. Fire Fighters provide 24 hour fire protection by working in teams that rotate responsibilities and shifts, and are supported by day staff that includes the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief and Inspectors. Firefighters may deploy away from their home base in support of military operations in Canada or abroad for up to six months. 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 Forces by working on various bases throughout Canada, onboard ships and in military missions. Fire Fighters may be required to move to a base anywhere in Canada.
After four years, the Fire Fighter must serve approximately three years as a Corporal as part of a ship's crew, during which they may serve on a mission at sea for up to six months. Over the course of their careers, Fire Fighters will normally serve three tours with the Royal Canadian Navy.
Fire Fighters who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training. At some point in their career, some Fire Fighters may have to opportunity to become instructors at the Canadian Forces Fire Academy.
Related Civilian Occupations
- Structural Fire Fighter
- Airport Fire Fighter
- Fire Inspector
- Fire Service Instructor
Basic Military Qualification
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian 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 Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Basic Occupational Qualification Training
Fire Fighters attend the Canadian Forces Fire Academy in Borden, Ontario. Training takes approximately 7 months 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
- 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 High School (or Secondaire V) with Grade 11 (or math 536 Quebec) Academic Math and one Science (Chemistry, Physics, or Physical Science) for Grade 11 or Secondaire V in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.
Applicants to the Fire Fighter occupation must have a valid driver’s license.
If you already have a college diploma, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the 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. Applicants should be physically fit, follow a physical fitness program and pursue an active and healthy lifestyle.
All applicants are required to successfully pass the Firefighter Pre-Entry Fitness Evaluation prior to beginning training at the Canadian Forces Fire Academy.
Serve with the Reserve Force
Limited positions are available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit on a main operating base or air wing 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.
Fire Fighters serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force. They prevent the loss of life or property due to fire and perform a variety of tasks to support Forces training and operations. Fire Fighters employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit locations within Canada.
Reserve Force Training
Reserve Force members usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Fire Fighters takes approximately 14 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces Fire and CBRN Academy in Borden, Ontario.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit. Reservists may work up to twelve days a month in either a shift-work schedule or regular work days. They are paid 85% of the Regular Forces rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.
Find a unit in your area and start the application process for part-time employment now.