Being a firefighter is no ordinary job. The work is varied, challenging and rewarding.
The information provided on this webpage will help you to better understand the role of a firefighter, the key requirements of the role and outline the recruitment process. We encourage all women and men to use this information to prepare for the recruitment process and to maximise your potential for successful employment.
Additional information on the recruitment process can be found in the applicant information booklet and by watching the recorded information sessions below.
ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) works to protect life, property and the environment in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
ACTF&R has a long tradition of excellence in the protection of life, property and the environment of the ACT community and surrounding area. ACTF&R is made up of over 370 permanent firefighters, support staff, and over 700 community fire unit (CFU) volunteers.
We manage and respond to emergencies including:
- Structure Fires
- Bush and Grass Fires
- Vehicle Fires
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Automatic Fire Alarms
- Hazardous Material Incidents
- Confined Space Rescues
- Trench Rescues
- Urban Search and Rescue Operations
- Animal Rescues
- Vertical Rescues
We work with other emergency services to provide:
- Medical Assist Responses
- Storm Damage Mitigation
Being a firefighter is no ordinary job. The work is varied, challenging and rewarding. In addition to responding to emergencies, a firefighter’s role entails a range of functions including:
- Fire prevention and investigation;
- Community education and activities related to safety and prevention, including fire education for children (conducted in pre-schools, kindergartens, primary schools); working with diverse communities to raise awareness, educate and help minimise the impact of fire; and, providing assistance to the elderly, e.g. installation of smoke alarms in homes;
- Ensuring compliance with fire safety regulations during building approvals;
- Carrying out building inspections to prepare risk assessments and pre-incident plans;
- Attendance at fetes and other community events;
- The provision of emergency safety information to specific neighbourhoods or areas;
- Inspecting and assessing potential fire hazards;
- Pre planning for incidents involving specific hazards, risks or events;
- Scrutinising plans for proposed suburban developments to ensure safety of residents from bush and grass fire;
- Undertaking ongoing development and maintenance of skills and knowledge through regular training and study; and
- Cleaning/maintenance of equipment, fire station and appliances. This includes core housekeeping duties such as cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming etc.
Firefighters often operate in challenging situations, including when people are injured or deceased.
When attending incidents, firefighters may be required to comfort victims or provide first aid until the arrival of the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS). Firefighting is physically and psychologically demanding, especially during major emergencies.
It also involves quick thinking, team work and physical and mental endurance.
Generally, career firefighters work in a fire station in a crew supervised by a Station Officer. Several stations are ESA shared facilities with other emergency services. ACTF&R have fire stations strategically located around the ACT to enable quick response to incidents. We also staff an emergency communications centre.
To provide our emergency services on a 24/7 basis ACTF&R has four shifts (known as A, B, C & D Platoons). You will be transferred to a Platoon at a fire station following satisfactory completion of recruit training with future rotation opportunities.
Firefighters are required to maintain good health and physical fitness.
To be a successful firefighter, you need a wide range of skills, knowledge and abilities. ACTF&R firefighters are ACT Public Sector (ACTPS) employees and we seek to employ people who reflect our professionalism and values, along with the diversity of our society.
ACTF&R seeks to employ fit, intelligent, well rounded adults with the following skills and attributes:
- Personal resilience and an ability to work effectively in challenging situations;
- Appreciation of the need to critically evaluate risk and adhere to safe work practices in situations that at times can be inherently dangerous;
- Effective and appropriate written and verbal communication skills;
- A commitment to service and helping others, and an interest and ability to engage with members of the public;
- Understanding of, and willingness to undertake the full range of firefighter duties including follow directions;
- The ability to work shiftwork including nights, weekends and public holidays, flexibility in work locations within the ACT and a commitment to ongoing development;
- Demonstrate respect toward your fellow colleagues, the community and all others regardless of individual differences;
- Well developed interpersonal skills and the capacity to work within, and contribute positively to, a small team working in close proximity;
- The ability to exercise self-discipline and use sound judgement in ensuring assigned tasks are completed to the required standard and within tight timeframes; and
- A capacity to acquire new skills and demonstrated problem solving ability.
Applicants must be Australian citizens or have permanent residence status, and possess the following mandatory requirements:
- Current first aid certificate (‘Provide First Aid’ or equivalent);
- Current Australian C Class Licence with no restrictions (no P plates) and confirmation of completion of a ‘Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Assessment’, (see https://roadreadycentre.com.au/knowledge-tests/heavy-vehicle-knowledge-tests/) or; current Australian MR Class driving licence with no restrictions (no P plates);
- ACT Working with Vulnerable People check; and
- National Police check (NPC).
Police/Criminal History check
Firefighters are placed in a position of trust and have privileged access to property and vulnerable people when on official business or during emergency incidents. It is therefore imperative that ACTF&R conducts stringent assessments of applicants and enforces the need to have a professional, honest, reliable workforce that adheres to ethical principles and standards.
All successful applicants will need to undergo a NPC by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) prior to an offer of employment being made. Any positive checks will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants who have conviction/s may be asked to provide Police Fact Sheets and/or court transcripts prior to attending a panel interview. Applicants with any of the above offence history in the preceding 10 years from the date of submitting their NPC may be asked to attend an interview to specifically discuss the issue before being considered for further progression in the recruitment process. Each case is assessed on an individual basis.
Please note that ACTF&R have an exemption under section 19 of the Spent Convictions Act 2000 for offences related to arson, that is any past convictions (irrespective of age) that relate to arson will be reported in a criminal history check.
Working with vulnerable people checks
Successful applicants must have been successfully registered for Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) in the ACT.
Further information on WWVP registration is available from the Access Canberra website at https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/s/article/working-with-vulnerable-people-wwvp-registration-tab-overview.
Note: The costs associated with the above mandatory requirements will be met by the applicant.
ACTF&R conducts recruitment selection processes periodically. This process typically selects 16 to 20 applicants to commence training as Fourth Class Firefighters in training. Further applicants may also be identified and offered employment in the following 12 months if sufficient positions become available.
Applications are invited from individuals aspiring to be firefighters. Advertisements will be showcased in The Canberra Times, on the ACT Fire & Rescue website, and through Jobs ACT. Applications will remain open for a period of two weeks. After the closing date, all submissions will be evaluated based on general recruitment standards and their response to the selection criteria. Successful applicants will advance to the second stage.
Qualified applicants will be asked to attend an online aptitude test. This session encompasses tests assessing a variety of skills: verbal, numerical, abstract, and spatial reasoning. After completing the aptitude test, applicants are required to provide a written response to a question aligned with the selection criteria.
Note: Candidates may be required to attend an aptitude verification test at a subsequent stage.
Applicants who clear the aptitude test will be invited for a cardiovascular challenge known as the ‘BEEP test’. This test involves shuttle runs spanning 20 meters, with candidates needing to achieve a level of 9.6 to progress. It's advisable for prospective candidates to familiarize themselves with this test beforehand. A demonstration of the ‘BEEP test’ is available online here.
Successful candidates from the previous stage will be invited to an assessment centre for teamwork exercises and an introductory interview.
Selected applicants will then be invited to undergo the Physical Aptitude Test (PAT). A demonstration of the ACT Fire & Rescue Physical Aptitude Test can be viewed here.
At this phase, successful applicants will engage in formal interviews, and their referees will be contacted for verification.
The concluding stage will have shortlisted candidates attending medical and psychometric evaluation sessions.
- Demonstrated ability to work as an effective member of a highly trained team;
- Ability to safely and effectively perform in an environment that can be physically and emotionally challenging;
- Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to adapt to a variety of audiences;
- Demonstrated commitment to excellence in occupational performance, and personal and professional development;
- An understanding of the role, responsibilities and resilience required for employment as a firefighter; and
- Demonstrated knowledge of fair and safe workplace practices including Work Health and Safety, and the principles of respect, equity and diversity.
Firefighters work in teams under the supervision of a Station Officer. Depending on the shift being worked and the circumstances that emerge during the shift, a firefighter will:
- Whilst performing routine duties and attending emergencies, identify potential and existing hazards, take appropriate action and report the nature of those hazards in accordance with agency WHS requirements;
- Respond to fires, rescues and other emergencies and perform duties in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures, including those tasks as allocated by the Station Officer/ Senior Officer at the scene;
- Assist casualties at accidents/incidents and provide emergency care by the application of basic life support techniques and in accordance with agency Standard Operating Procedures;
- Undertake a range of community based activities in relation to fire education, safety and prevention; and
- Process information in accordance with agency procedures by;
- logging details of emergency reports for action and future reference;
- receiving, processing and transmitting information via radio, telephone and computer;
- completing standard agency proformas;
- perform routine station duties including the cleaning and maintenance of vehicles, equipment and facilities; and
- undertake training and courses of study to ensure current competence.