Learn about the application process to become a career firefighter with Surrey Fire Service.
Surrey Fire Service is made up of just over 400 exceptional individuals who are driven, innovative and resilient. We are committed to serving the public by providing fire protection and other critical emergency and non-emergency services to our growing community.
With a focus on safety, customer service and public education we strive to reduce community risk. This is delivered by highly skilled, efficient team players who leverage a diversity of skill sets, strengths, and education to fulfill their commitment to public safety.
Why Join Us
Surrey is growing rapidly and consists of large geographically diverse communities. Surrey Fire Service is one of the largest fire service organizations in BC and we offer our employees many opportunities for growth and advancement. Our city is easily accessible to all parts of Metro Vancouver and we offer the opportunity to work and live in a community that provides something for everyone, either at work or at home.
More reasons to join us:
- We care about our citizens and work to prevent emergencies from occurring by implementing risk reduction programs.
- We offer our suppression staff an opportunity to pursue higher education and professional development throughout their career.
- We incorporate environmental initiatives such as anti-idling technology and electric powered equipment to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Through extensive research, we protect staff from the known risks of firefighting through wellness programs to ensure a work life balance with an emphasis on staying healthy and enjoying a long career.
- We are always looking for ways to deliver better services to our community.
What We Look For
A Surrey Firefighter takes pride in serving their community. Either by responding to calls with a highly trained, skilled, and cohesive team, reducing community risk through preventative activities and education or positively engaging with the public at any opportunity to nurture a trust required in a community that relies on a firefighter’s skillset.
We are looking for people who:
- Are committed to serving their community
- View firefighting as a career
- Are committed to bettering themselves through ongoing training and education
- Want to challenge themselves by applying for specialty qualifications
- Join committees to contribute to improving the fire service
- Make critical decisions based on experience and information
- Contribute to a positive working environment for yourself and those around you
- Are accepting of others and are willing to both support and learn from them
- Communicate effectively orally and in writing
Factors to Consider
Like any career, there are challenges to working as a firefighter. Make sure you understand what you are committing to prior to pursuing all the required certifications. Things to consider include:
- Shift Work
- Rotating shifts require firefighters to work most weekends and statutory holidays.
- Shift work may require firefighters to make significant adjustments to their personal schedules.
- Shift work also requires firefighters to be away from home over night on a regular basis.
- Physically Demanding
- The work of a firefighter is physically demanding.
- Firefighters must maintain their physical fitness and lead a healthy lifestyle to perform their duties safely and to guard against the health risks of the job, which include heart disease and several forms of cancer.
- Psychologically Demanding
- The work of a firefighter will expose you to tragic and traumatic incidents.
- Firefighters must be the kind of people who have the emotional fortitude, healthy coping mechanisms, and mental resiliency to deal with these situations.
These requirements must be completed prior to submitting your application
- Legally entitled to work in Canada (you must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident/Landed Immigrant)
- Grade 12 completion or equivalent
- Two years or more of accumulated work experience after high school completion
- Valid Class 3 or Class 1 Driver's License with air brake endorsement or equivalent for vehicles with more than two axles (automatic transmission is accepted) and a safe driving record
- A current BC EMA Licensing Board First Responder License or higher level of EMA License (EMR, PCP, ACP). We do not accept OFA licensing. For out of province applicants, visit Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board to apply for a BC license.
- Fluency in English (written and verbal)
- Physically and psychologically suitable for the position of firefighter* (Meets NFPA 1582)
- Fully vaccinated for COVID-19
- Successful completion of the Surrey Fire Service Basic Firefighting Knowledge Course** or equivalent***
*The standard for vision in the SFS Operating Guideline states that you must have minimum 20/100 vision, combined, uncorrected and 20/30 vision, combined, corrected. What this means is:
20/30 vision, combined, corrected – If you wear corrective lenses, the lenses must correct your vision to a minimum of 20/30 combined. One eye may be better than 20/30 and the other worse, if the Employer’s eye specialist can determine that the average vision between both eyes can be corrected to 20/30 or better (between 20/30 and 20/20, combined, corrected).
If you do not require corrective lenses and your eye specialist has never suggested that you should consider corrective lenses, it is reasonable to believe you exceed the standard for vision. An eye care practitioner should confirm this.
The vision standard also states that you will have colour and peripheral vision suitable to the position of firefighter and disqualifies anyone with a disease of the eye that would render them unfit for the position of firefighter.
**The Surrey Fire Basic Knowledge Course is an online course where students will learn the knowledge required to be a firefighter. Students who require this qualification will be given opportunity to sign up for the course during the selection process.
*** Equivalency for the Basic Knowledge Course requires NFPA 1001, Level 1 or Level 2 IFSAC or ProBoard certifications.
These additional skills and experiences will enhance your application but do not replace the minimum qualifications:
- Post-secondary education
- Previous work experience in the hospitality industry (food service)
- Previous work experience in:
- Police, Fire, Health Care – one year minimum
- Wildfire Service / Coast Guard / Lifeguarding
- Military / Search and Rescue
- Previous work experience with a non-profit organization
- Experience in team-oriented sports or organizations
- Sport coaching or instructional qualification
- Computer literacy
- Language fluency other than English
- Willing to work day shifts, night shifts, weekends and holidays including extra shifts as required
Become a Firefighter in Surrey
Apply at City of Surrey Careers when a posting is live.
- Postings are kept open for a couple of weeks
- Upon closing, hundreds of applications are reviewed
- We invite applicants with the best qualifications to the next stage
- Proof of qualifications will be required at the interview stage
If you want to move past this stage, see which qualifications you are missing and obtain them.
2. Psychometric Assessment
This stage screens applicants by testing firefighter competencies. This helps us choose candidates who’s values align with those of the City and will serve the public with integrity.
What to expect
- The testing takes between 3 to 4 hours to complete a list of questionnaires
- Cost of psychometric testing is the responsibility of the applicant
- We test for problem solving abilities as well as character
- Explore these resources to know our expectations and to support success
3. Physical Testing
This stage is used to determine if you have the strength and cardio necessary to fulfill the requirements of a career that is physical in nature. Staying fit in both mind and body will support a long and healthy career.
What to expect
4. Skills Assessment
This stage tests your ability to work in a team, listen to instruction and follow direction. You will be assessed by firefighters who will be working alongside the successful candidates during their career.
During this stage the interviewers will assess the candidate for strength of character and moral fortitude.
- The last cut of successful candidates will sit in front of a panel of interviewers representing Fire Chiefs, Union Executive and Human Resources
- The candidate answers questions from the panel and provides examples from their personal experience to enhance their answers and reveal their personality and character
See City of Surrey Applicant Resources for further guidance.
6. Final Stage
During the final stage, candidates will be expected to provide references which will be checked by Human Resources.
- References are to be professional, not personal
- References must include the candidate’s current and previous manager or supervisor
- References will be asked questions related to the candidate’s employment record, work habits and interpersonal skills
Police Information Check (PIC) documentation will be forwarded to the candidate. A vulnerable sector check must be completed as part of the PIC process.
Successful completion of reference checks and the Police Information Check process will lead to a Conditional Offer of Employment, which is dependent on passing the medical evaluation and a First Responder Suitability Assessment.
- Human Resources personnel will contact the candidate and provide all of the information required for the completion of the medical evaluation. We do not accept medicals completed for other fire departments
- The medical evaluation is provided by a qualified third party selected by the City of Surrey and will screen for medical conditions that might affect the candidate’s ability to function as a firefighter
- The cost of the medical testing is approximately $800. The cost is the responsibility of the candidate
- The First Responder Suitability Assessment (FRSA) is provided by a qualified third party and will include a series of written tests followed by an interview with a clinical psychologist. There is no cost for the candidate
Note: Both the medical evaluation and FRSA must be done in person
When all conditions of employment are satisfied, Human Resources will issue a letter removing the condition from the employment offer. Human Resources will notify the candidate of uniform fittings, turn-out gear fittings, SCBA and N95 fit testing, and employment commencement date.
The entire hiring process takes approximately 3 months. You must be available in person for each stage of the hiring process you are invited to.
We hope we have given you a realistic view of a career in the Fire Service. If you choose to become a firefighter, we wish you the best of luck.