Firefighter Self-Evaluation Questionnaire
A career as a firefighter is not suited for everyone. Desire alone does not guarantee that it will be a good career fit. The daily pressures, emotional strain and dangers seperate it from any other career. Before you consider applying, you should ask yourself:
Am I willing to represent the fire department and the City of Calgary at all times?
Calgary firefighters are employees of the City of Calgary and are expected to represent the values of the department and the City both at work and in their personal lives.
Am I comfortable engaging with all members of the community?
Firefighters regularly engage with the public at emergencies, community events, or while speaking with children and adults about fire safety.
Am I comfortable working in a team environment?
Fire Department members live and work together in the fire stations during their shifts and are often referred to as family.
Am I able to take direction without questioning why I’m being asked to do something?
The Fire Department is a paramilitary organization where rank decides who does what. As a new addition to the fire station, a probationary firefighter will be given all types of tasks by the senior members of the crew. This will include filling in paperwork, cooking, cleaning the equipment, cleaning toilets, etc.
Is physical fitness a way of life for me?
Being a firefighter is a career that requires minor to significant physical effort every day. Committing to a high level of fitness and nutrition means firefighters are able to successfully complete the required tasks.
Am I willing to work long hours and miss out on weekends, holidays, and family milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc?
City of Calgary firefighters work an eight-day rotation of two 10-hour day shifts and two 14-hour night shifts followed by 4 days off. This rotation averages out to a 42-hour work week. Schedules are planned well in advance to give firefighters time to adjust their personal plans. Talk this through with the important people in your life before applying because they will be impacted.
Am I uncomfortable with heights or being in confined spaces?
Firefighters are often required to participate in activities where height is a factor. They are also often required to participate in activities that require being in very tight, very dark spaces. They wear a mask that covers their entire face while performing duties in these environments. If you have identified that these situations can be a concern for you, you may want to seek support to overcome them before you apply.
Do I understand that I will likely encounter tragedy on the job?
Firefighters are present on some of the worst days of a person’s life. Witnessing tragedies, and the people impacted by them, may have a negative impact on you as well. While firefighters have the opportunity to feel good about providing assistance, they also need to be very resilient and have constructive ways to manage the stress of the job. Having a strong support system, both on the job and in your personal life, will help you deal with difficult calls.
Are you willing to wear a uniform and follow the personal appearance policies?
Being in a paramilitary workplace requires wearing a uniform any time you are representing the fire department whether at work or during your personal time. To ensure your safety as a firefighter, you will also be required to adhere to hair and jewelry policies.
Am I okay sleeping in a dorm environment?
Some of the fire stations have sleeping quarters where all beds are in a single room. They also may have communal same-gender shower areas. CFD is converting these areas to single-person occupancy rooms/stalls but the conversions will take place over an extended period of time.