Calgary Fire Department

The Calgary Fire Department has been serving the City of Calgary for over 125 years!

We have 39 fire stations distributed throughout the City of Calgary. We also have a shop for servicing our fleet of vehicles and a training facility for recruit and incumbent training.

Our primary services include:
  • Delivering emergency fire and medical response as well as technical rescue services.
  • Promoting the reduction of injury and death through fire prevention and safety education programs.
  • Enforcing fire safety bylaws and safety codes to and providing training, inspections and education to individuals and businesses.
  • Supporting emergency and disaster management planning, preparedness and response.
How many people does your organization employ? How many locally?

Currently we have over 1,350 uniformed IAFF members all working within, and for, the City of Calgary. We also employ approximately 100 support staff under separate collective agreements.

What type of positions do you offer?

At Firefighter Recruitment, we offer full time employment opportunities for probationary firefighter positions. All other positions are hired directly through the City of Calgary.

What are the benefits of working for your company?

Probationary firefighters become City of Calgary employees from the first day of recruit training. Three months of paid training is provided.

Describe opportunities for advancement.

Our promotions are based on time served as well as passing written and practical exams. As Firefighters learn and grow, they can move up in rank from Firefighter to Senior Firefighter to Lieutenant to Captain and higher.

After a few years on the job, Firefighters can apply to work in the following positions for a portion of their career. Once they return to the floor, they can apply their new learning to their daily experience in the fire hall.
  • Training Officer
  • Health and Safety Officer
  • Fire Inspections
  • Fire Investigations
  • Fire Recruitment
  • Fire Prevention
  • Community Safety
Firefighters can also apply for training in these specialties.
  • Aquatic Rescue
  • Rope Rescue
  • Heavy Rescue
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Airport Suppression
List any corporate responsibility initiatives that your organization is currently involved in.

In 2003, Calgary became the first Canadian municipality to adopt a sustainable building policy requiring all new City-owned buildings, and renovations to existing City-owned buildings, to meet or exceed the Silver level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. In 2008, the City raised the standard and now requires Gold level certification.

The Calgary Fire Department, in partnership with the City's Waste and Recycling Services, offers the Household Hazardous Waste program at five of the City's fire stations. This program diverts over three million kilograms of waste chemicals, oils, and flammable liquids from Calgary landfills each year.

In partnership with Parks, a water reclamation project is being conducted at our training academy. Over one million gallons of water used during training exercises is recycled each year.

We have reduced water use in our fire stations by 32% surpassing our goal of a 30% reduction by 2030.

We recycle 52% of the waste from our Fire Department facilities.

What are some entry level career opportunities that your organization offers?

We only hire for the position of Probationary Firefighter with the City of Calgary. All non-uniformed and support staff positions are hired for by the City of Calgary.

How would someone find out about opportunities at your company? How can a candidate apply?

Our website is packed with great information about firefighting as a career with the City of Calgary, the qualifications needed to apply, and how our application process works. The deadline for submitting applications will be posted when we are accepting applications. Access to our online application form will also be posted and will contain specific instructions. The job posting will be open for a few weeks. We are also considering the use of Twitter and Facebook to announce our job posting.

Describe your hiring and interview process?

This is not just a job - it is a career. There are 10 steps in our Firefighter Selection Process. It can take 9 months to a year for an applicant to complete all of the steps.
  • The first step is to fill out an online application form which can be found on our websitewhen the job posting is open.
  • Step two is to complete an aptitude test which assesses basic knowledge at a Grade 10 level and ensures the applicant has the right qualities for a career as a firefighter.
  • Applicants who pass the Aptitude test have their documents reviewed to ensure they met our requirements when they applied.
  • The next step is the Panel Interview. This is probably the most challenging step in our process. Applicants are interviewed by members of the CFD using a behavioral descriptive interview style which is used by the City of Calgary for all interviews. Basically, we want an applicant to tell us a story from their own life experience explaining how they meet the competencies for the type of work Firefighters do. This story must be in the STAR format: what is the Situation or Task, what Actions did you use to complete the task, what was the Result. In simple terms, the story should have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Successful candidates are then required to complete a polygraph exam which will verify the information they've provided to us up to this point in the Firefighter Selection Process.
  • After successfully completing the polygraph, applicants move on to the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). This is kind of like a firefighter relay race, where applicants have to complete a series of physical tasks within a time limit while wearing a weighted vest.
  • We're getting close to the end now and the remaining candidates' files are presented to our Selection Committee who will determine if the candidates are suitable for a firefighting career with the City of Calgary.
  • Finally, applicants are placed on an eligibility list where they wait for a recruit training class to begin. These classes are only started when the Department has a need for new Firefighters.
  • The last stage is the conditional job offer, which goes out 8 - 10 weeks prior to the beginning of a recruit class. At this time, applicants will be required to undergo a complete physical examination including successfully completing a VO2 Max treadmill test.

This probably seems like a lot to go through. In fact, only 1 in 10 applicants make it through all stages of our Firefighter Selection Process. But don't let that deter you; someone is going to be the successful candidate, why not let that someone be you?

What do you look for in an employee?

There is no perfect Firefighter. Our strength as a department is in the diversity of the backgrounds and experiences that we all bring to the job. The one thing we look for in all our applicants is a desire to work. We can teach you the skills you need but, if you aren't interested in learning and bettering yourself every day, you won't be successful in this job. If you are lucky enough to get to our interview stage, make sure you've done your research. Learn about the department; who our Chief is; and what the mission, vision and value statements of the department are. Also do research about how many fire halls there are in the city, how many firefighters there are. Use our website as a resource.

The days of a Firefighter having to have a trade certificate are gone. In a dynamic changing workplace, the skill set needed to be successful as a department is incredibly broad. Having an aptitude with tools and equipment is an asset but, so are excellent communication skills, empathy, and multiple languages.

Most importantly, visit a fire hall and talk to the firefighters there. Ask them what they do all day, why they like their jobs, and what advice they have to offer.

What type of education/training/equipment do you require?

To be eligible to apply, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • The minimum educational requirement is Grade 12 or a GED. If you have completed your education outside of Canada, your education must be assessed by one of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada members like IQAS.
  • Applicants also must have a Class 5 driver's license with no restrictions, no more than six demerits, and not have any current or pending suspensions.
  • Vaccinations must be up to date.
  • Not have any criminal convictions.
  • Must be three years clear of any detected or undetected criminal behaviour.
  • You need to be a Canadian citizen or have Permanent Resident status.

The points above are the minimum requirements but we strongly recommend that you get the following certifications before you apply, because these are required before we can give you a job offer:

  • EMR certificate (must be from an 80-hour course)
  • Health Care Provider CPR
  • Minimum of a Class 3 driver's license with a Q (air brake) endorsement.

Unlike some departments, pre-fire service training is not required.

What is the minimum age required to work for your company? Are there different age requirements for different positions?

You must be 18 years old when you submit your application.

Provide a wage range for entry level positions.

Based on the current collective agreement, probationary firefighters earn $28.82 per hour or $5,266 per month. They will receive annual pay raises for each of the next four years until, as a 5th year firefighter, they earn $44.34 per hour or $8,101 per month.

What are the hours of the business and general shift times? Are there a minimum number of hours someone needs to work per week? Is there flexibility regarding school schedules?

During training, recruits work Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. The training is very challenging and will also require additional study time in the evenings and weekends. Once training is complete, they will be assigned a shift and join the crews in the fire hall. From that point on, they will work a rotation of two 10-hour day shifts, followed by two 14-hour night shifts, followed by four days off. We only hire full time Firefighters.

Is a uniform provided or do employees have to pay for it?

Uniforms and gear are issued for all firefighters and are paid for by the city.