Firefighters

(NOC 0432, 4312)

in All NS Occupations

In addition to fighting fires, firefighters assist in other emergencies and conduct fire prevention activities. They are employed by municipal, provincial and federal governments and by large industrial establishments that have internal firefighting services.

Job Outlook

Limited

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  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 35 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All NS Occupations

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 33315 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. However, jobseekers may face some competition for those positions. The number employed in this occupation is expected to remain largely the same over the next few years. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Firefighters most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work).

The median employment income for 81% of Firefighters who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $81,933. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$19.60

Minimum

$39.26

Median

$44.41

Maximum

Annual Pay

$36,167

Minimum

$76,422

Median

$115,001

Maximum

Compared to: All NS Occupations

Hourly Pay

$11.00

Minimum

$19.89

Median

$40.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,872

Minimum

$29,983

Median

$83,126

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

In addition to fighting fires, firefighters assist in other emergencies and conduct fire prevention activities. They are employed by municipal, provincial and federal governments and by large industrial establishments that have internal firefighting services.

Job duties

Firefighters perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance, such as automobile and industrial accidents, bomb threats and other emergencies.
  • Rescue victims from burning buildings and accident sites.
  • Control and extinguish fires using manual and power equipment, such as axes, water hoses, aerial ladders and hydraulic equipment and various firefighting chemicals.
  • Administer first aid and other assistance.
  • Ensure proper operation and maintenance of firefighting equipment.
  • Prepare written reports on fire incidents.
  • Inform and educate the public on fire prevention.
  • Train to maintain high level of physical fitness.
  • Assist the public, the police and emergency organizations during times of major disasters.
  • May participate as members of a trauma or emergency response team and provide paramedical aid to accident victims or ill persons.
  • May supervise and coordinate the work of other firefighters.
  • May conduct building inspections to ensure compliance with fire code.

Fire chiefs and senior firefighting officers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Develop, implement and evaluate policies and procedures for the operation of a municipal fire department, a district fire region or an industrial firefighting service.
  • Plan, direct and coordinate firefighting strategies for fire departments.
  • Evaluate the type of fire, the extent of damage to buildings and the danger to nearby establishments.
  • Direct activities at the scene of a fire.
  • Determine damage estimates and investigate the potential causes of a fire after extinguished.
  • Develop and oversee the implementation of security and fire prevention campaigns.
  • Represent the fire department in communications with government, the media and the public.
  • Direct the training of personnel in firefighting methods.
  • Coordinate and monitor budget and departmental resources.

Sample job titles

  • fire captain
  • fire chief
  • fire department duty officer
  • fire inspector
  • fire lieutenant
  • fire prevention officer
  • fire safety inspection firefighter
  • firefighter
  • firefighter apprentice
  • firefighter lieutenant

Skills

To work as a firefighter, you must be in excellent health and physical condition. Mental alertness, courage, and mechanical aptitude are necessary. You must be able to perform under stress, react quickly, and be willing to take risks. Leadership and problem-solving skills are needed, as well as the ability to cooperate in a team effort.

Job requirements

  • Completion of high school is required.
  • Completion of a college program in fire protection technology, fire science or a related field is usually required.
  • Completion of a provincial or municipal firefighters training course is required.
  • Firefighting and emergency medical care training courses are provided and vary in length depending on the requirements of different fire departments or services.

Other considerations

Firefighting is one of the most hazardous jobs, involving risk of injury and death. Most paid employment exists in the more heavily populated areas of the province, while smaller communities rely more upon volunteer firefighters. Experience as a volunteer firefighter may be an advantage for entry to paid positions. Progression to senior officer positions such as fire chief is possible with additional training and several years of experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

895

employed in 2016

95.6%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
N/A

median age

Compared to: All NS Occupations

427,305

employed in 2016

78.0%

employed full-time

10.0%

self employed

49.2%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
50.8%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

63.1%

Halifax

14.4%

Annapolis Valley

10.7%

Cape Breton

8.0%

Northern

3.2%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

94.9%

Public Administration

1.7%

Transportation and Warehousing

1.1%

Educational Services

1.1%

Other Industries

1.1%

Retail Trade

What is the age of Employment?

30.1%

45-54

25.2%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

18.4%

25-34

4.9%

15-24

2.9%

65+

Compared to: All NS Occupations

36.6%

35-44

29.3%

45-54

24.4%

55-64

4.9%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

37.8%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
25.4%

High school

N/A
16.5%

Trades certificate

N/A
14.1%

Bachelor's degree

N/A
3.8%

University certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

29.2%

Bachelor's degree

$43,533 median annual income
21.5%

College certificate or diploma

$28,183 median annual income
17.2%

Master's degree

$35,978 median annual income
14.3%

High school

$25,801 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$60,991 median annual income

Education & training

Crisis/emergency/disaster management

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program focusing on the application of the incident command system model to formulating and implementing effective response to natural and man-made disasters. These programs include courses in contingency planning, hazard and risk assessment, joint operations, law and ethics, emergency response and recovery, event mitigation, emergency rescue and medical operations, incident command, terrorism and national security issues, law enforcement, relief administration, volunteer and citizen coordination, public relations and applications to specific types of incidents.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Fire science/firefighting

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to perform the duties of firefighters. These programs include courses in firefighting equipment operation and maintenance, principles of fire science and combustible substances, methods of controlling different types of fires, hazardous material handling and control, fire rescue procedures, public relations and applicable laws and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Firefighters School

48 Powder Mill Road

Waverley, NS B2R 1E9

(902) 861-3823

Fire services administration

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to structure, manage, direct and control fire departments, fire prevention services, fire inspection and investigation offices and ancillary rescue services.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service
40 Alderney Drive, Suite 302
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N5
Tel: (902) 490-5530
Fax: (902) 490-5528
Nova Scotia Firefighters School
48 Powder Mill Road
Waverley, NS B2R 1E9
Tel: (866) 861-3823
Fax: (866) 399-3473

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.