If you want to become a firefighter, here’s what you need to know

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Taking up firefighting as a career can be both exciting and fulfilling at the same time.
Taking up firefighting as a career can be both exciting and fulfilling at the same time.
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Taking up firefighting as a career can be both exciting and fulfilling at the same time. This adrenaline rush-filled career path is all about being of service to others.

It is, however, also a dangerous line of work that requires commitment, bravery and passion, so if the thought of running into burning buildings and pulling people out of car crashes scares you, then you might need to reconsider.

Skills, education and training

To qualify for a job as a firefighter, you will undergo rigorous and demanding physical training. You have to be 18 years or older but not older than 45.

You must have passed matric, be physically and mentally fit – there are various evaluations you will have to pass.

Driving licence – code 10 with PrDP.

You can’t be claustrophobic (fear of enclosed spaces) and acrophobic (fear of heights).

A high level of discipline and the ability to work in a team are advantageous.
A knack for handling stressful situations is non-negotiable.

You should also be an efficient communicator.


There are different ranks in the industry.

You start off as a firefighter completing four months of training. Then after further studying and doing exams you get promoted to platoon commander, station commander, divisional chief, deputy chief and then chief.

These ranks may vary from fire department to fire department.

Duties and responsibilities

As a firefighter, you will most likely work for a municipality’s fire department.

You’ll be part of a team of first responders whose job is to respond to various emergencies including house fires, shack fires, vehicle fires, bush and veld fires.

Firefighters also ensure continued fire safety at airports and high-rise buildings. Work schedule

Long hours are a part and parcel of your life as a firefighter. Expect to work about 60 hours per week.

To apply you should approach your local fire department in your area. Often openings are also advertised in local newspapers.


The average salary for a firefighter in South Africa is around R196 000, depending on your rank.

Sources: arrivealive.co.za, payscale.com, careersportal.co.za

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