How do I become a firefighter?

We decided to find more information through a Q&A on the steps needed to become a firefighter

How do I become a firefighter?

Every fire department in South Africa has its own requirements but the basic entry level requirements are:

  • Matric
  • Driving licence  -Code 10 with PrDP
  • Pass a physical test
  • Must not be claustrophobic
  • Must not be afraid of heights

When you are call for an interview, enquire as to what is required of you e.g., what are the physical test all about?

Where should I apply?

Approach your local fire department in your area or monitor your local newspaper. E.g. City Press

How long does it take?

From the time you been interviewed, it normally takes about three to four weeks for the HR to get back to you.

Best advice would be to enquire from the officials at the interview.

Are there different levels of firefighting personnel?

Are there different levels of fire fighting personnel?

Yes. You start off as a firefighter completing four months of training. Then after studying and doing exams you get promoted to Platoon Commander, Station Commander, Divisional Chief, Deputy Chief and then Chief. (Ranks may vary from Fire Departments to fire department)

What are the characteristics needed to become a firefighter?

  • Firstly you have to be passionate about wanting to help people and the salary you get should be a secondary consideration.
  • If you doing this for the money you are mistaken as a firefighters job is serving mankind.
  • You have to be honest and trustworthy since you will be entering houses and business to do your job.
  • You should be a problem solver and not panic under server stressful situations.
  • You must take the job serious as your life and people’s lives depend on you. 
  • You should be disciplined and be able to take instruction from your commanding officer.
  • Be positive and have a great attitude for life.
  • Be humble and strive to help someone in need.
  • You should be physical fit as the job is extremely strenuous.

Who should rather not consider becoming a firefighter?

Who should rather not consider becoming a fire fighter?

As firefighters would say, we do it for the love of the job and money is not important.

Stay away if you think it is glamorous and if you are in it for the money only.

 I promise you, what you experience on a daily basis will have an effect on you and your family for years to come.

If you cannot stand blood or horrific situations then do not even think about joining the fire department.


What I can assure you that it is the best job in the world as you get to help people make untold sacrifices in your personal life and most of all it gives you great satisfaction of knowing that that you saved a life.

Remember there are no living hero’s only dead ones.

Prepared: DF Esau

Public Information Education Officer

City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services

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