DFES - Department of Fire and Emergency Services
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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply?

Applications are online only and are usually only open for 2 weeks. Applicants must complete the entire application, must upload a resume and other requested documents. Failure to follow all instructions and upload all requested documents will result in not progressing further. Applicants will also have the option to upload additional relevant documentation (eg. prerequisites, qualifications etc.). It is recommended that applicant’s don’t wait until the last minute to apply as DFES takes no responsibility if an application is unable to be completed on time due to internet problems, computer problems, or difficulties with the website. If an application is not complete at the closing time, the application will be unable to be submitted. Once completed, applicants will receive an email confirming their application has been received.

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I don’t have a computer or an email address.

All correspondence is conducted via email and applicants also need to select their session times online. Therefore, it is essential that applicants have regular access to the internet. Applicants without a computer or smart phone can use computers at libraries and internet cafes. There is NO alternative. Additionally, please note there may be some issues using smart phones and some internet browsers. Therefore, wherever possible, it is recommended that applicants use a laptop or desktop computer with the latest version of a common internet browser.

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Can I have an application pack sent to me?

Applications must be submitted online and are not available by hard copy. The DFES website is the best source of information.

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Can I apply if I am from overseas or interstate?

Yes; however, applicants must be either an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident of Australia to apply. New Zealand citizens also have the right to apply. Unless you hold one of these, you are unable to apply. It is important to note that where stages are to be conducted in person, applicants must attend at the locations specified. No alternatives will be given and no consideration will be given to combining stages to reduce the number of visits.

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Does DFES sponsor international candidates?

No, DFES does not sponsor any people.

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Are there minimal education requirements that must be met?

No, there are no specific educational requirements that must be met. However, the Trainee Firefighter School is very intensive and as such, a Written Aptitude Test is included in the process. Additionally, it is important to note that during the school, Trainees spend significant time outside school hours studying for both theoretical and practical assessments.

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What qualifications do I need?

There are no minimum qualifications but you must meet the citizenship requirements and obtain the first aid (HLTAID003) and heavy rigid (HR-B) licence prerequisites.

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Which licence do I need?

You must obtain a HR-B Licence. An automatic HR licence (HR-A) is not sufficient.

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Does previous emergency service experience (paid or volunteer) or training improve my chances?

Previous experience or training in emergency services may enhance an applicant’s performance in some of the stages. However, this does not guarantee that an applicant will be more competitive.

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Can I apply if I have a medical condition?

Applicants are required to undertake a Medical Assessment as part of the recruitment process. There are some conditions that may impact on an applicant’s suitability or preclude them from gaining a position due to the potential impact of that condition. All applicants are considered on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the severity of the condition etc. 

The following medical conditions may preclude a person from being successful or may require significant detailed assessment:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Asthma
  • Joint replacements
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Some colour vision deficiencies
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss

If an applicant has a condition that may affect their suitability, it is highly recommended they obtain detailed information from their specialist regarding the history and nature of the condition, along with any impacts it may have. This will assist the Occupational Physician in the final assessment.

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Do I have to pay for the recruitment process?

No, DFES pays for all stages of the recruitment process. However, applicants will be responsible for all costs associated with travelling for the stages and for obtaining prerequisites, any pre-test medical assessments, and other checks (ie National Police Certificate and Working with Children).

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Can I undertake tests locally if I am not in Perth?

No, all testing is conducted in Perth.

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I have previously applied. Do I have to apply from scratch?

Yes, DFES does not retain details from previous recruitment campaigns. Due to the large number of people who apply; whilst an applicant may be competitive one year the result may differ in future campaigns.

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Are there age restrictions?

While there are no specific age restrictions or ranges for applicants, in order to be suitable an applicant must hold their Heavy Rigid Drivers Licence and this usually requires them to have held their normal C class licence for a minimum of 2 years.

As a general guide, the majority of successful applicants are aged between 20 and 30 years of age.

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Can I transfer from another Australian Fire Service?

DFES has a Lateral Entry policy, however this only applies if specific Lateral Entry applications are called for, which would be advertised separately to this process. DFES has not conducted lateral entry recruitment campaigns in over 10 years and is only likely to do so in the event of a reduction in the number of experienced firefighters and Station Officers.

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How long does the recruitment process take?

The recruitment process generally takes up to six months. However, as selections occur throughout the process, the majority of applicants do not continue after the first 6-8 weeks. DFES does not consider requests from applicants to combine stages to reduce the amount of time taken to complete the process.

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If I am successful, do I get a choice where I am stationed after completing the school?

During the school, Staff Deployment may seek requests from trainees for their preferred stations. However, there is no guarantee anyone will receive their preference. DFES makes all attempts to post firefighters as close to their residence as possible. However, in the first years as a firefighter, you will most likely be a relief, meaning you will relieve at different stations. When no relief is required, you will attend a designated relieving station as an extra.

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Can I choose to work at a country station?

DFES currently has four career fire stations in regional locations: Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie. Albany and Bunbury are highly desirable stations and are extremely difficult to transfer to. Vacancies occur at Geraldton and Kalgoorlie on a regular basis and you may be offered a position in the trainee firefighter school subject to taking a position at one of those stations. Once in the job, you can also apply for vacancies at different stations as they are advertised.

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How many positions are available?

The number of vacancies each year varies. Each school usually consists of 24 Trainee Firefighters and DFES averages two schools per year.

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How many people apply to become a Firefighter?

The number of applications varies with each campaign. In the last five years, the number of applicants has varied between 420 and 1,500. Therefore, competition is very high and applicants should not be disappointed if they are unsuccessful, with many very capable Firefighters applying in excess of 5 times before being successful.

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