Careers in the Fire Service

Firefighting EquipmentFirefighter

Firefighting Equipment

Fire Services Activities- What is our role?

The main duties of the Fire Service are to help protect the public in emergency situations. Firefighters respond to a wide variety of calls, such as car crashes, chemical spills, flooding, water rescue and general rescue as well as fires. With many fire crews being trained as first responders they can provide first aid until the arrival of ambulance personnel.

The Fire Service is also tasked with Fire Prevention. The main duties of a Fire Prevention Officer are to survey buildings under construction and existing buildings to ensure fire safety regulations are adhered to. Community Fire Safety is also under the remit of the Fire Service amongst other services.

Careers in the Irish Fire & Rescue Service fall into 2 categories

  • Firefighter
  • Senior Officer


Careers in the Fire & Rescue Service fall into 2 categories

1) Firefighters

There are two main divisions of firefighter: full-time firefighters and retained firefighters. The positions are open to male and female applicants.

Full-time Firefighter

Full-time personnel operate on a shift system consisting of  Watches. Each Watch is made up of a number of  personnel, 1 Station Officer, 1 Sub-Officer and  Firefighters. On completion of the initial training courses, recruits will be posted to one of the Watches. The shift system is designed to provide continuous cover throughout the year (including nights, weekends and public holidays).

Retained  Firefighter.

Much of the Fire Service in Ireland is a retained fire service. Retained Firefighters Retained Firefighters are part-time and they generally have other jobs or businesses. The main requirement when recruiting firefighters is that they live and work within a reasonable distance of the fire station and they have a reasonable level of fitness. Though part-time, recruits undergo extensive initial training including a three-week recruit course and a two-week breathing apparatus wearers course. They will receive extensive training throughout their career as a firefighter.

Recruiting process

Each Local Authority recruit people to the fire service as vacancies arise, a panel may be created to fill future positions. Vacancies are advertised in the local newspapers, on local radio and on Local Authority social media pages. It is also advisable to follow your fire service on facebook or twitter where we will bring variances to the attention of their followers.

  • An application form must be completed, applicants must be 18 years of age or over
  • A Garda Vetting Form must be completed
  • When a vacancy appears, interviews and basic written and numerical ability tests are held and qualified candidates are put on a panel
  • From this panel, persons are asked to carry out a medical and physical test
  • If successful at these tests, a person is sent on a three-week firefighter recruit induction course. Once this is successfully completed, the new firefighter is given an alerter and will then attend fires with the remainder of the crew
  • The new firefighter is usually sent on a breathing apparatus course within a year of joining the Fire Service. This must be successfully passed
  • The firefighter will then be offered a probationary contract (generally 12 months) , once this time has been completed  the firefighter maybe offered a full contract.

It is important to remember that retained firefighters must be available for calls at all times unless he/she has got approval not to attend from his/her station officer

Career Development

After 7 years as a Firefighter, you can apply for promotion to the rank of Sub Officer. Ranks above this include Station Officer.


2 ) Full-Time Senior Officers

Senior Officers work on a full time basis from 9am- 5pm, but may often be required to work outside these hours. They will also be required to go on the senior officer roister. This requires the RSFO (Roistered Senior Fire Officer) to attend calls such as fatalities, major fires or any call which it may be deemed necessary to have an RSFO in attendance.

Senior Fire Officers fall into mainly two categories:

1 ) Fire Prevention Officer

The main duties of a Fire Prevention Officer are to survey buildings under construction and existing buildings to ensure fire safety regulations are adhered to. Fire Prevention Officers can also be called to major fires where a coordinator is required.

2) Operational Fire Officer

The main duties of an Operational Officer are to manage the operational requirements of the fire service i.e. training, equipment, etc. Operational Officers can also be called to major fires where a coordinator is required.


Senior Officers are required to have a professional qualification for example, be a graduate of engineering, architecture or surveying.

They will be required to undergo the same initial training as a fire fighter and additional Officer training.  Training throughout their career will be ongoing.

Career Development

There are several ranks available to Senior Officers which may be applied for after the appropriate years service and experience has been obtained the highest of these is the CFO, Chief Fire Officer who is in overall command of their Fire Service.

Do you have what it takes to join the Irish Fire Service