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Fire fighter

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Summary of occupation

Fire fighters control and put out fires to protect lives and property. They also provide rescue services at serious vehicle and industrial accidents, carry out fire hydrant inspections and maintenance, and conduct inspections and risk assessments of private, industrial and commercial properties. Fire fighters also work closely with communities to raise awareness of fire safety and prevention strategies.

Fire fighters in Western Australia also conduct planned and controlled burns of bush land area to minimise the the damage caused by uncontrolled fires during the summer bushfire season.

ANZSCO description: Responds to fire alarms and emergency calls, controls and extinguishes fires, and protects life and property. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Aviation Firefighter, Fire Engineer (Army), Fire Prevention Officer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A fire fighter needs

  • a high level of physical fitness
  • the stamina to stay on their feet for a sustained period of time
  • ability to work as part of a team
  • ability to work at heights and in confined spaces
  • able to work in high pressure situations
  • to be willing to undertake ongoing training and professional development
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Working conditions

In order to maintain a 24-hour service every day of the year, fire fighters are required to work shift work, including nights, weekends and public holidays. Fire fighters often work at heights and in confined spaces, and of course in potentially hazardous situations.

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Salary details

Trainee fire fighters can expect to earn approximately $1 308 per week ($68 227 per year). Once their training period ends, a fire fighter can expect to earn between $1 424.49 and $1 716 per week ($74 311 and $89 526 per year), depending on their duties and level of experience.

As a fire fighter gains experience and progresses through the ranks their pay rate increases.

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Tools and technologies

Fire fighters use a range of specialised equipment, which can vary depending on the situation they are responding to. Protective equipment such as helmets, gloves, breathing apparatus and specially designed uniforms. Hydraulic rescue tools, such as the Jaws of Life, are often used to free victims from motor vehicle crashes, or other small spaces. They also use large hoses, ladders and small hand tools, axes and crowbars.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a fire fighter you must pass the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) recruitment process and complete the Trainee Fire Fighter School training program.

Applicants must be an Australian citizen or a Permanent Resident, have a current Provide First Aid Certificate and hold an Unrestricted HR (Heavy Rigid) Class driver’s licence.

Applicants who meet these pre-requirements will be invited to commence the selection process, involving a series of written, physical, psychological and medical checks, as well as an interview.

Successful applicants are required to attend the training school for 17 weeks at the WA Fire and Emergency Services Academy in Forrestfield. This is followed by placement in stations throughout the state.

Contact the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Firefighters control and put out fires to protect lives and property.

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