Understanding The Firefighter Recruiting Process In Australia
The need for qualified firefighters is growing in Australia due to climate changes and a steady rise in population. At the same time, the government is slashing portions of its budget earmarked for recruitment and fire control research intended to develop more effective fire control techniques. This lack of funding has affected the firefighter recruiting process and resulted in fewer skilled professionals available to battle these deadly blazes.
According to weather experts, studies reveal extreme temperatures in the country have doubled over the last five decades. The risk of fires is particularly high during the summer putting demands on current firefighting forces that are difficult for them meet without additional personnel. Extremely dry conditions, especially in the west and southeast regions of the country, have put all buildings near low-lying bush at risk of catching fire.
Budget cuts and freezes have slowed the recruitment process down considerably but the government must address the need for skilled professionals to protect its citizens, especially during times of the year when the risk of fire is higher. With limited opportunities, the competition for jobs in this sector is fierce despite the high demand. Applicants must be mentally and physically fit and possess the skills necessary to perform under high-pressure circumstances.
It can take more than three months to complete the recruitment process, which consists of multiple stages. The process typically begins in May for the following year. Applicants who hope to find a position must place in the highest tier in each stage to receive an invitation to continue through the process. Department of Fire and Emergency Services personnel rate the various stages separately and components are subject to change at any time.
The first stage to become an Australian firefighter involves filling out an online application. A panel reviews each application and evaluates the answers to the questions that relate to the Assessment Criteria. Applicants deemed suitable are invited to continue through the recruiting process.
The Beep Test or Shuttle Run Test measures cardiovascular fitness. Candidates run 20-metre lengths while increasing the pace each minute for as long as they can. A score of 9.6 is required to advance to subsequent stages.
Written aptitude tests gauge a candidate’s ability to handle the academic requirements of Trainee Firefighting School. Candidates must show an ability to follow instructions and solve problems. Testing covers writing, reading, comprehension, and mechanical reasoning with minimum standards required for each section.
Only those applicants who rate at the highest level for the early stages have the opportunity to advance to the physical aptitude testing phase. These tests mimic the tasks all firefighters undertake while fulfilling their duties. Candidates must demonstrate they have the physical strength, endurance, and mental capacity to handle the demands of the job.
While recruitment remains slow during challenging economic times, the demand for highly skilled firefighters continues to grow. Whether funding becomes available, the Australian City Council predicts the need to double the number of firefighters in the coming years. Individuals who can progress through the process consistently ranked at the highest levels will enjoy a rewarding career with multiple benefits.