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As a member of the military, Firefighters prevent the loss of life or property due to fire. They perform a variety of tasks including aircraft rescue, structural, and wild land firefighting, 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 Firefighters are to:

  • Perform rescue, extinguishment, ventilation, overhaul, and forcible entry operations
  • Drive and operate all types of firefighting 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 firefighting team
  • Respond as part of an Airfield Engineering Squadron
  • Respond to aircraft cable engagements and provide mobile arrestor gear skills
  • Perform emergency medical response

Work environment

Although members of the Air Force, Firefighters may work to support Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations. Firefighters 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.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview


Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting Videos




Reviewed – 27 Mar 23


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: I’m Master Corporal Kate Jamieson from Halifax, Nova Scotia, a firefighter currently serving at 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec.


NARRATOR: Fire safety is a 24/7 responsibility that never takes a day off – on base, or in the field. In the Canadian Armed Forces, Firefighters provide around-the-clock 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. 


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: Being a firefighter in the Canadian Armed Forces is different than being a civilian firefighter, primarily because we provide the support for the airfield as well as the structural support for the base. We have the opportunities to deploy, we go to the field, we attend exercises and airshows across the country, as well as we get posted. So we have opportunities to see different parts of the country.


This is my second posting and it's my first posting in a second language. So now I have the opportunity to learn French as well as broaden my skills in firefighting with the different aircraft here in Bagotville. 


NARRATOR: Although members of the Air Force, Firefighters may work to support Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations. 


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: Day to day, we come in, we do our turnover with the crew that is off going. We want to know if there was any calls, if there was any equipment used, if the trucks were used in any capacity. And then we start our shift. So we would do our daily inspections on our vehicles. We do vehicle maintenance, something that we call a weekly inspection. So every day there's a different truck that we run up from top to bottom to make sure that every piece of equipment is working.


We do a lot of physical training as well. We do sprinkler inspections, we do fire alarm testing, fire extinguisher testing, teach people on the base how to use fire extinguishers. And then we wait for when the emergency is happening and we respond accordingly.


NARRATOR: Firefighters are also trained for confined space and technical rescue as well as Emergency Medical Response.


Opportunities for travel exist for all Firefighters. Postings and domestic operations can take them across the country, including to Canadian Forces Station Alert in the high Arctic, while overseas deployments can take them to every corner of the globe.


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: When the bells go, it's game time. We know that it's time for us to perform our job. It's a very serious moment for us. We get dressed and we’re out the door in about 60 seconds or less. It's full of adrenaline, especially if those bells go during the night and maybe you're not expecting it as much. During the day, we hear the jets flying. We know they're up there and we know that we're going to be ready if they need us.




MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: Being a firefighter, I joke that I have six brothers that I never asked for. The friendships that you build are second to none. There's nothing like it: We live together, we eat our meals together, we work out together, we train together. I always say that firefighting is a team sport. You cannot do this job alone and we really rely on each other for those moments. I’ve built some great friendships, lasting friendships through this career that I will cherish for the rest of my life.


NARRATOR: On completion of their apprentice-level training, new Firefighters are assigned to their first military fire department, where they’ll put their newly-learned skills to the test working under the supervision of their more experienced colleagues. 


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: As an apprentice-firefighter, starting off, you are expected to perform. You are expected to be the first one up in the morning, the last one to go to sleep, the first one that is offering help when a job needs to be done. It's filled with training. And it's really important that you find a good mentor and you ask for them to help you learn. Basically, it's just filled with learning. 


NARRATOR: Being a Firefighter in the Canadian Armed Forces offers great opportunities for promotion and advancement. Within a reasonable time, members can work their way up to Platoon Chief or Deputy Fire Chief. 


MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: Something I really love about my job is that it changes every single day and that's really encouraged within us as well, as soldiers and as firefighters, to constantly evolve, constantly progress within our careers, to grow from firefighters to supervisors to real leaders within the trade.




MASTER CORPORAL KATE JAMIESON: The highlight of my career so far – when I drive a fire truck around and I see little girls screaming, “Mommy, mommy, it's a girl driving a fire truck!” Those moments are so special to me, and they really make it feel like I'm doing the right thing and that I have a great career that I can be proud of. 




Related Civilian Occupations

  • Structural Firefighter
  • Airport Firefighter
  • Fire Inspector
  • Fire Service Instructor


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 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Firefighters 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 firefighting 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

Firefighters may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Structural firefighter
  • Airport firefighter
  • Fire inspector
  • Fire investigator
  • Fire instructor
  • Hazardous material incident commander
  • Fire officer
  • Hazardous material technician

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is :

  • Graduation from an accredited fire service program, or,
  • Secondary school graduation certificate or Quebec  Secondary 5, including:
    • Gr 11 academic math or math 436 /SN 4/TS 4 in Quebec; and any chemistry or physics/physical science course at the Gr 11 or Quebec Secondary 5 level


Applicants to the Firefighter occupation must have a valid driver’s licence.

The ideal candidate will already have a college diploma, the CAF 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.

Firefighter 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 firefighter. 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.

Foreign education may be accepted.