What firefighters do
Respond to fires and emergencies
Firefighters are first responders to emergencies. Typically a crew of four firefighters on each fire truck responds to an emergency call. When the crew arrives on the scene, they assess the situation and determine the quickest and safest way to help. They work with police and paramedics to make sure everyone is cared for.
A career in firefighting is dangerous and physically demanding. Firefighters carry heavy hoses and tools up and down ladders or stairs while wearing bulky protective gear. When firefighters arrive at the scene of a fire, they connect hoses to hydrants, use ladders and tools to get into buildings, go into smoke-filled buildings carrying water-filled hoses and search for trapped and injured victims to get them out safely. They always make sure a fire is completely put out and will remain at the scene checking for smoldering fires and ensuring that buildings don’t collapse.
Respond to medical calls
Firefighters respond when people need medical help. They use CPR and other emergency medical procedures, give oxygen, bandage wounds, and assist with childbirth. They work closely with paramedics to gather medical histories and help to safely load patients into ambulances. Before they leave the scene, firefighters clean up any blood or other dangerous fluids.
Respond to vehicle accidents
Firefighters respond to accidents all over the city. They work quickly to help trapped or injured victims, check the area around the accident to be sure it is safe, and work with other emergency service providers to check that everyone is okay. Before they leave the scene of the accident, they clean up any vehicle wreckage and dangerous fluids that may have spilled.
Provide excellent community service
Calgary firefighters are caring, friendly, and helpful. They share important fire prevention and safety information with the community. They inspect businesses and train business owners on fire safety bylaws and codes. They also educate citizens about fire safety in their homes. They participate in many community events and support charitable causes to help make Calgary a great place to live.
Firefighting is not a typical Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, job. Calgary firefighters work four days in a row; two 10-hour day shifts and two 14-hour night shifts. They eat, sleep, clean, and exercise while on shift at a fire station. They also learn about and train on the latest firefighting equipment and techniques, perform administrative work, and keep the fire station, engine, and all equipment clean and ready for an emergency.
As their career progresses, Calgary firefighters can apply for positions on special teams such as aquatic rescue, heavy rescue, high-angle rescue, and hazardous materials response. Members of these teams are trained in specialized rescue skills, equipment, and practices.
There are many challenges to firefighting. Firefighters work in extreme heat, smoke, dust, dirt, wet, and cold. They work with potentially toxic gases and in tight spaces with very poor or no visibility. We provide the very best protective equipment but firefighters can be at risk for cancer and heart disease as a result of some of the conditions they work in. We encourage our firefighters to take care of themselves and provide them with services to support their health.
The starting salary of a probationary firefighter is approximately $29 per hour and they are eligible for both the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Calgary Firefighter's Supplementary Pension Plan (FSPP).
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