The Facts About Firefighter Recruitment In Australia
The volume of applications for firefighter positions in Australia is large and growing. In part this is due to the high prevalence of fires during past seasons. The recruitment process is a fairly lengthy one and only the best of the best are able to achieve one of the coveted positions. The volatility of firefighter recruiting is in part due to the changes in government, but is also because of the opportunities afforded by the need for more firefighters.
The entire recruitment process usually takes more than 12 weeks to complete.
Recruitment for the 2015 school year begins in May or June of 2014. Only those applicants who are the most highly qualified are selected to continue through additional stages in the process. The various stages may occur in any order. Completing any or all of the stages doesn’t guarantee selection to one of the positions. Those applicants who are in the highest tier of applicants may be invited to continue on during the process.
The stages are rated and completed separately. In 2013, there stages included the following. The order or components may change in future recruitment periods. The first stage includes online applications, a beep test and aptitude testing. Additional tests can be included at this stage. A minimum score of 9.6 is required for the beep test. Applications are reviewed and rated by DFES personnel. Aptitude tests measure mechanical reasoning, comprehension and numerical proficiency.
The next stage includes physical testing to determine whether the applicant is able to perform the physical and manual duties of a firefighter. The interviews by a panel are anticipated to be done on the same day as the physical testing. Checks on referees may be conducted at this same stage.
As part of the above stage, a profile exam checks into the background, suitability and experience of candidates. As with the previous stage, only the most qualified applicants will be allowed to continue further through the process of selection.
Another stage of testing includes the functional movement assessment, which measures the candidates ability to undertake repetitious firefighting tasks. The tendency to be predisposed to injuries, or to be limited by previous injuries is determined. Applicants are also checked for any postural limitations that might be present. A full medical assessment is required in conjunction with the Functional Movement assessment.
The candidate must be able to operate a heavy rigid vehicle. This is not a pass/fail test, only a rating of how well the person handles the typical vehicles operated by firefighters. The need to pass any tests for integrity, including the National Police Certificate is the final element of the general testing.
Applicants are encouraged to prepare for the tests through physical fitness and aptitude tests. Recruitment and testing is strenuous, but there is a growing need for the type of trained and competent firefighters that are selected through the process. Active recruitment for female firefighters and for aboriginal firefighters is conducted annually. The benefits for those firefighters once the training is completed are substantial, including vacation, holiday and cultural leave and family leave.