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NOC Code: NOC Code: 4312 Occupation: Firefighters
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Firefighters carry out firefighting and fire prevention activities, and assist in other emergencies. They are employed by municipal, provincial and federal governments and by large industrial establishments that have internal firefighting services. Firefighters carry out firefighting and fire prevention activities, and assist in other emergencies. They are employed by municipal, provincial and federal governments and by large industrial establishments that have internal firefighting services.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3 4
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read text entries in log books and maintenance records to ensure equipment and supplies are in place before fire calls. (1)
  • Read memos and letters from supervisors regarding fire safety instructions, and branch and station decisions. (2)
  • Read handling, storage and usage instructions, warnings and first aid procedures on equipment and product labels. Read text on labels to understand the products' uses, maintenance requirements and safe handling procedures of hazardous materials to remind yourself of the actions to be taken in case of accidental contact. (2)
  • Read magazines like Firefighting in Canada to check the availability and prices of new equipment and supplies, and read newsletters and bulletins from various government sources like Transport Canada and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to learn new and best firefighting practices. (2)
  • Read books and longer reports. For example, reference books such as the Fire Protection Handbook to understand and apply firefighting techniques to specific emergency situations like aircraft fires and may review federal government reports that outline chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism threats and how best to deal with them. (3)
  • Read incident and accident reports to understand what has occurred and to verify your recollections are consistent with those of other firefighters who were present. In some cases, you are asked to sign reports to acknowledge your agreement. (3)
  • Read excerpts of the National Building Fire Code and the National Electrical Code to familiarize yourself with the identification of common code infractions and to advise homeowners and business owners of safe practices like the proper storage of flammable liquids. (3)
  • Read training and operations' manuals such as the International Fire Service Training Manual and fire truck operating manuals during training sessions. Read manuals that cover all aspects of firefighting and that detail the standard operating procedures that are employed by the department. (4)
  • Read standard operating procedures to identify courses of action for specific emergency situations. For example, refer to automobile fire procedures that describe first responder duties, minimum safe firefighting distances and communication protocols for contacting superior officers and backup firefighters. Standard operating procedures contain highly detailed and complex technical information in multiple sections and firefighters may have to make inferences when they do not have appropriate procedures to address unique situations. (4)
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  • Write reminders of tasks you must perform, short entries in station logs to document significant occurrences during shifts, and notes and email to inform other firefighters of meetings and training sessions. (1)
  • Write short notes on incident, medical, training reports and inspection forms. For example, detail the number of occupants in a fire-damaged residence, numbers and types of injuries sustained by the occupants and the number of firefighters that responded to the call. These forms are often filed for reference by other firefighters and senior firefighters and chiefs. (2)
  • Write short letters and memos to municipal administrators and funding authorities. For example, supervisors of firefighters compose requests to municipal councillors to solicit funds for equipment and sponsorship of events. (3)
  • Write summary reports of a page to two pages in length documenting your actions in responding to fire and emergency calls. These reports are often recorded in narrative form and are forwarded to senior firefighters and chiefs who may integrate them into more detailed reports to administrators. The reports must be accurate, detailed and able to stand up to any resulting review by administrators. (3)
  • Write detailed sections of response plans and actions to be taken in the jurisdiction before, during and after natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and major winter storms. For example, document addresses of buildings and structures susceptible to heavy damage or loss of life from certain disasters including hospitals, seniors' homes, parks, fields, stadiums or theatres where large numbers of people may be congregated. Identify buildings or locations which store large amounts of hazardous materials on site, including gas stations. These plans may be integrated with emergency plans of local hospitals and police forces. (4)
  • In supervisory roles, write formal evaluations of those under your command. Include performance assessments and recommendations for further training in these evaluations. (4)
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Document Use
  • Use schedules and lists. For example, locate information on work schedules to determine assigned working times, duty assignments and scheduled training sessions. Read lists to ensure consistent, frequent and thorough maintenance of firefighting equipment. (1)
  • Use tables and graphs. For example, use graphs and charts in the National Fire Protection Association Standards document to understand and apply guidelines for the use of fire protection materials and tools. Use graphs to learn community population numbers and to record data like total kilometres travelled to fire scenes and total usage of water, foam or other firefighting compound. (2)
  • Interpret assembly drawings while assembling firefighting equipment. For example, consult an assembly drawing of a complex breathing apparatus to properly change the air filter or replace hoses. (2)
  • Review maps and plans of buildings, facilities and vehicles to ensure they show the locations of emergency equipment, meet fire code regulations and identify obstacles for persons approaching and entering during emergency situations. For example, firefighters may use these documents to identify locations of airbags in vehicles and presence of fuel sources such as oil tanks in buildings. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use word processing software. For example, write memos and incident reports to keep records of firefighters' and stations' activities. Write purchase requisitions for requests. (2)
  • Supervisors of firefighters may enter data such as overtime, regular and training hours into spreadsheets such as Excel. (2)
  • Use training software to simulate real emergency situations. (2)
  • Use email programs such as Outlook to communicate within and between fire departments. (2)
  • Search Internet sites to find information on products and best practices. (2)
  • Review chemical manufacturers' databases to determine chemicals' characteristics and may enter daily information in Firepro, an Access database used to record trends found at emergency scenes. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Interact with superiors and other firefighters. For example, firefighters speak to co-workers to learn about events on other shifts and to question them about tasks that still need to be completed. (1)
  • Lead discussions and educational sessions. For example, review fire safety plans with homeowners and business operators, point out structural areas of homes and businesses that do not meet accepted fire safety codes and suggest ways to achieve compliance. Lead individuals through fire prevention and safety demonstrations and conduct fire station tours for visiting groups. (2)
  • Speak with providers of supplies and services relevant to emergency response providers. Discuss the quality, prices and availabilities. (2)
  • Make formal presentations on behalf of fire services and other emergency responders. Speak persuasively to solicit financial support from administrative and legislative bodies and provide expert input at public consultations to increase community awareness and the effectiveness of emergency services. (3)
  • Lead group training activities. For example, encourage other firefighters and emergency first responders to share experiences, participate in simulations and deliver training presentations. (3)
  • Give clear and concise verbal instructions to other firefighters, superiors and emergency responders during emergencies. Talk with paramedics and police officers to share vital information, co-ordinate work with other responders, offer directions to incoming emergency response units, direct bystanders and witnesses, and actively monitor emergency locations to ensure the safety of all persons involved. Communication may take place face-to-face or over two-way radios. (4)
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Money Math
  • Add invoice amounts and cross check quoted prices to verify correctness of invoices and sign off for equipment and supplies. (2)
  • Add amounts on bills. For example, supervisors of firefighters may total the costs of items used in transportation of hazardous materials including gloves, tape, suits and chemical compounds to clean spills and forward the completed financial summaries to their accounting departments. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Develop schedules for maintenance and operational chores. For example, firefighters may schedule daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks for themselves and other firefighters. (1)
  • Add up hours worked to take inventories on schedules. Schedule firefighters into existing time slots for work training and drill sessions. (1)
  • In supervisory roles, develop budgets and cost forecasts for equipment and supplies. All firefighters are responsible for ensuring that stations are fully stocked to meet their demands and help other response areas. (2)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure volume of various chemicals used to create firefighting solutions. For example, firefighters may have to double or halve solutions or divide and measure chemical ingredients into containers to counteract gasoline spills. (1)
  • Calculate the water pressure lost between the pump and the end of the water hose to assess the amount of pressure that must be used to effectively fight a fire. Enter two variables into a predetermined formula to perform the calculation. (2)
  • Measure concentrations of firefighting foam components. For example, airport firefighters may use conductivity meters and refractometers to determine the concentration of firefighting foam to ensure correct proportioning of foam concentrate. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Take inventory of materials and supplies that have been used and are needed during daily operations. (1)
  • Calculate and analyze average response times. For example, firefighters calculate the averages of response times in minutes over thirty-day periods and analyze these results over successive months to identify areas where improvements can be made to decrease response times. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate travel times. For example, firefighters estimate the times of arrival of first responders and multi-unit call-outs to emergency scenes. (1)
  • Estimate distances, sizes, pressures and quantities of materials and pieces of equipment. For example, firefighters estimate the lengths of hoses, heights of ladders and pressure requirements for fighting fires on upper floors of tall office buildings. (1)
  • Estimate the size and extent of fires to determine the required number of response people and emergency units to effectively contain and control emergency situations. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Firefighters work in very organized, structured and hierarchical environments. When they are not responding to emergency calls, firefighters follow set schedules to complete chores and duties, monitor firefighting and safety equipment, verify station supplies and check current inventories. They also answer and attend to emergency calls through strict protocols within highly structured management systems. While firefighters develop and follow operational procedures for most emergency situations, they must often adapt plans to suit unique sites and emergencies. Supervisors of firefighters set their own work routines and are responsible for the day-to-day scheduling of tasks for all firefighters under their command; however, those working in smaller departments may set their own work schedules. They encounter significant variety in their work activities, as every incident is unique. Short-term planning is used to best respond to the emergency situations. On the scene of an emergency, firefighters must prioritize tasks quickly and efficiently. Firefighters encounter many disruptions in the course of duty. For example, a building's conditions may deteriorate, resulting in an abrupt change in their approach to fighting the fire. Their work is always integrated with the emergency plans of others, such as paramedics, police officers and medical staff. Firefighters may report to supervisors and fire chiefs who have higher levels of authority. Their success is measured against standards and norms within the service. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Decide which cleaning duties and administrative chores may be skipped in favour of other activities like extra training or reading. (1)
  • Decide to participate in new occupational safety training exercises. Consider your current skill levels, opportunities to upgrade and industry demands for the acquisition of new skills. (2)
  • Decide to close and condemn derelict homes and buildings that do not meet fire code regulations and pose fire hazards to nearby structures. Firefighters suggest steps that property owners can take to have their buildings demolished, and recommend how to renovate their establishments to meet fire code regulations. (3)
  • Make decisions to adequately contain and control fires. For example, decide how firefighters and equipment should be deployed at fire scenes, and decide which levels of emergencies should be declared. Consider the intensities of fires, dangers posed to surrounding areas, available firefighters and past experience in similar situations. Decisions are critical to protect buildings and personal safety of public and other firefighters. (4)
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Problem Solving
  • Arrive at scenes of emergencies to find obstacles such as cars parked by fire hydrants and live electrical wires on the ground. Call towing services to remove parked vehicles or utility workers to remove downed power lines. In all situations you must quickly and effectively determine to remove or refrain from removing dangerous objects. (2)
  • You are unable to fight fires effectively because pumps and other equipment do not work properly or utility services such as electricity and water supplies are interrupted. For example, firefighters may experience drops in water pressure during emergency situations. They report malfunctions to their superiors, look for the sources and switch to alternative equipment and service. (2)
  • Communication is lost with other emergency responders during crisis situations. For example, use bullhorns and shout when two-way radios are not working properly and try to switch radio channels. Quickly re-establish communication links to ensure all firefighters from the station are accounted for. (3)
  • You are short-staffed or encounter conflicts between staff. For example, there are not enough firefighters to handle a large fire. Immediately call other firefighters scheduled for vacation and may contact other nearby stations. Firefighters working as supervisors may face reduced staff due to sickness, injuries, personality conflicts and grievances. They may refer to their departments' prescribed human resource guidelines to resolve conflicts between workers, and contact union representatives to gather information on grievances. They may also refer complex personnel problems including positive drug testing, sexual harassment and hostile work environments to their fire chiefs and municipal authorities. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information on completed standard incident reports and hazardous occurrence investigation reports to determine persons involved and actions taken during maintenance and emergency calls. (2)
  • Gather information from witnesses, other firefighters and emergency responders and from personal observations when arriving at emergency situations with little to no information. Use the information to rapidly develop plans to contain and control the situations. (2)
  • Find information about the assembly, maintenance, repair and use of firefighting equipment by referring to manuals, lists and information sheets. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the safety of newly constructed, occupied, vacant and fire damaged buildings for potential hazards and to assess their fire detection and extinguishing capabilities during routine and special inspections. For example, assess the locations and numbers of sprinkler heads in large restaurants to ensure they comply with fire codes. (2)
  • Assess present and future needs for firefighting equipment and supplies in the station. For example, firefighters in the roles of inspectors and supervisors consider the equipment currently available, any training required to advance staff skills in the uses of new equipment and the number and types of buildings in the areas they serve before purchasing them. (2)
  • Judge the safety and risks or dangers of businesses and buildings against established fire code regulations. Firefighters judge whether buildings and businesses meet regulations, can be renovated and be brought up to code or should be condemned and demolished. (3)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of firefighting methods and materials in order to identify potential areas of improvement. Review response times, completeness of assigned jobs and tasks, adherence to action plans and standard operating procedures and personnel's ability to operate equipment to determine the strengths and weaknesses. (3)
  • Assess the severity of fire and accident victims' injuries to determine the most pressing medical problems. Consult victims and witnesses, triage the victims until emergency medical services arrive, communicate symptoms to medical staff and determine risks to victims' lives. (4)
  • Assess the gravity and hazardousness of fires. Firefighters judge the danger of fires moving to other floors and the potential for oxygen back drafts that quickly increase the intensity of fires. They increase safety precautions by immediately communicating the escalating situations to all emergency personnel and may recommend the evacuation of all firefighters from burning buildings. (4)
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