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About the role of being a firefighter

More than fighting fires – we help anyone, anywhere, anytime

Being a firefighter is no ordinary job. The work is varied, challenging and rewarding. The firefighter role entails a range of different 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) and rescue education for teenagers (conducted in high schools); working with diverse communities to raise awareness, educate and help minimise the environmental impact of fire; and providing assistance to the elderly, e.g. installation of smoke alarms in homes
  • Recovery and management of hazardous, toxic and flammable materials
  • Recovery after storm and flood
  • Responding to rescue calls throughout the State, assisting people involved in domestic, industrial and transport incidents, including road accidents
  • Providing basic first aid until an accredited provider arrives, such as the NSW Ambulance
  • Carrying out building inspections to prepare risk assessments and pre-incident plans
  • Maintaining good health and physical fitness
  • Undertaking ongoing development, and maintenance of skills and knowledge through regular training and study
  • Cleaning/maintenance of equipment and the fire station. This includes core housekeeping duties such as cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming etc.
  • Firefighters often operate in stressful situations, particularly when people are injured or threatened with injury. When attending an incident, firefighters may be required to comfort victims or advise the public to stay clear of the area. Firefighting is physically and psychologically demanding, especially during major emergencies, and involves quick thinking, team work and endurance.
  • Generally, permanent firefighters work in a fire station as part of a platoon supervised by a Station Commander. Platoons contain anywhere between 3 and 12 firefighters of various ranks, depending on the size and nature of the fire station. Each fire station is part of a zone containing between 9 and 27 fire stations and headed by a Zone Commander. These Zones are then grouped in areas (north, south, east and west) headed by an Area Commander.