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All Things CF Firefighter (merged)

NSRecruit

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Just wondering if anyone had word of truth or not of CF FF switching over to a remuster trade only?
 

DAA

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NSRecruit said:
Just wondering if anyone had word of truth or not of CF FF switching over to a remuster trade only?

Not that I heard.  The CF is "actively" recruiting from "off the street" for Fire Fighters this year and in reasonably large numbers.
 

AMcC

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Looking on the site now and it does not indicate that they are hiring for firefighters, does it open up at a specific time of year or it it supply and demand based?
 

AMcC

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Also does a valid drivers licence mean a full G or can you get in with a G2?
 

ForeverLearning

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General question Air Force may know. Do the fire fighters stationed at Air Force bases only protecting air crafts or are they protecting the housing and infrastructure in the entire base? Or are the buildings left to the dnd fire dept?
 

fire_guy686

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They would protect the entire base. If I'm not mistaken bases either have a DND (civilians) or military fire department. 
 

George Wallace

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greyman_11 said:
They would protect the entire base. If I'm not mistaken bases either have a DND (civilians) or military fire department.

There is only one (1) Fire Department on Bases (not all).  It would be manned by both Civilian DND Firefighters and Military Firefighters, working together.  Some Bases no longer have DND Fire Halls and rely on the local Municipality for Fire Services.
 

ForeverLearning

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George Wallace said:
There is only one (1) Fire Department on Bases (not all).  It would be manned by both Civilian DND Firefighters and Military Firefighters, working together.  Some Bases no longer have DND Fire Halls and rely on the local Municipality for Fire Services.

That seems odd to have both dnd and military staff, why not one or the other? Thanks for clearing it up Wallace. I'm just on my final weeks of bmq and I havnt come across any fire fighter staff to ask questions
 

ff149

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We have one base that has a mixture of Civilian (DND) and military, that would be Edmonton. All other bases that have firefighters on base are either DND or Military. I'm not sure if Edmonton is staying that way, I have heard rumours that it may be changing to all military. The DND were added to try and have some continuity at the base because of the military high turnover. Most Airforce bases have military firefighters (not all some are contract and some rely on local fire departments). Most army bases are served with DND firefighters.

Our priority on airforce bases is the airfield, which means if we get two calls, one in the PMQ's and one on the airfield we are suppose to take the one on the airfield first. We would use mutual aid or a recall crew for the PMQ or split the crew up depending on the calls. That would be a last resort. If it was during normal working hours we could use people from the inspection cell etc to cover either call. 
 

ff149

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The trade does have some issues. Part of it is people leaving for civvy departments. Some of it is the trade has a large number of members who have over 20 years of service and could leave shortly. The trade does not have a problem attracting people, it has a problem keeping experienced members. That is where most of the issues are at the MCpl, Sgt WO level. I don't think there is a quick solution for this and there are people looking at what can be done. The fact of the trade is we move more then people working at a city department and they tend to make more then we do. It is a good trade with lots of opportunities and chances to see different places. It has done me good for the last dozen years.
 

ForeverLearning

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ff149 said:
The trade does have some issues. Part of it is people leaving for civvy departments. Some of it is the trade has a large number of members who have over 20 years of service and could leave shortly. The trade does not have a problem attracting people, it has a problem keeping experienced members. That is where most of the issues are at the MCpl, Sgt WO level. I don't think there is a quick solution for this and there are people looking at what can be done. The fact of the trade is we move more then people working at a city department and they tend to make more then we do. It is a good trade with lots of opportunities and chances to see different places. It has done me good for the last dozen years.

Last questions, how do the shifts work with cf fire fighters ?
 

ff149

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Most fire halls work a form of 4 shifts. Its a 4 days/6 off 4 nights/4 off 3 days/3 nights 4 off. So starting on a Monday you would work days Monday to Thursday, off until the following Thursday work 4 nights off Monday morning, back to work Friday work days until Sunday, then Monday to Wednesday night off Thursday Morning and start all over again Monday morning. It works out to 42 hours a week. The hours depend on the fire hall, most of them your day shift starts at 0730 or 0800 and work until 1630 or 1700. Nights cover the rest (1700 til 0730). Keep in mind that many places require you to do any major appointments (medical/dental etc) on your days off. You also could have mandatory training on your days off as well.

Some fire halls due to manning issues are working with 3 crews. Some of these halls are working 24 hour shifts (various schedules). At least one fire hall that I am aware of is working a 3 crew shift of 3 days 3 nights 3 off (they still keep the same hours as above, not working 24 hour shifts). That one is a hard one to work.  These halls may be working the 3 crews for the summer to help with summer leave/posting season, others maybe working for the considerable future.

Hope this helps.
 

blacktriangle

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I read elsewhere that many firefighters were being forced to sign 5+ year contracts with a "no release" clause if they want to go on their 5's. Is that accurate? If so, how's that working out as a retention plan?  ;D

Is most of the turnover in Edmonton/Cold Lake? or is at halls across the country?

 

ff149

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They do have to sign that prior to going on their 5's course. I'll leave it to your imagination on how this is working in the trade. Although I will say that some of the people at first that were dead set against signing it seemed to have a change of heart and are signing it now an going on their 5's course. 

I don't know if I would say that Edmonton/Cold Lake have a higher attrition rate then any other base in Canada. Seems like a lot are getting out to work there, even if they are not posted in either of those two locations. There are two streams of people getting out, those with barely anytime in the trade looking to go elsewhere, and those that have over 20 years in (under the old contract) that are looking for a new career. We are throwing a lot of new people into the trade, running anywhere up to 3 or 4 QL3 courses a year and actually overloading the courses. I guess that makes the trade seem like it is healthy when you have 100 new firefighters a year in the trade making up for the 80 - 100 a year that are getting out. Somethings are changing, will that make a difference, I don't know and I guess only time will tell.
 

blacktriangle

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Thanks - on a side note, how long is the average new guy in a hall waiting for his 5's these days?

Cheers
 

ff149

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When a new QL3 gets to a hall, he has approximately 18 months to finish his OJT package. It can be done quicker then that, they are allotted 18 months. It should take them that long, anything less than that and you can see it in the students when they move on to their 5's course. We are probably running 1 maybe 2 5's courses a year, I believe this year they are running 2. It all depends on if/when they get enough people signing off on their 5 year contracts. So a brand new firefighter could come back to Borden in approx 20-24 months depending on when the next 5's course is running. 
 

SkyZ

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AMcC said:
Also does a valid drivers licence mean a full G or can you get in with a G2?

You can have a G2 as long as you are able to get your G within 4 months. I had a guy on my crew that came off of his 3's with only a G2.


ForeverLearning said:
General question Air Force may know. Do the fire fighters stationed at Air Force bases only protecting air crafts or are they protecting the housing and infrastructure in the entire base? Or are the buildings left to the dnd fire dept?

Other than Edmonton, the only fire hall postings are on Air Force bases because the priority is the airfield. On a normal day, any 911 call that is placed on base will be the responsibly of the hall. If for some freak of nature you get a inflight emergency AND a call on the structural side than it will be up to the PC what he will do. I have been on standby positions on the airfield with a plane in inflight and have been called back for medicals. But on paper, the airfield is always the priority.

ForeverLearning said:
That seems odd to have both dnd and military staff, why not one or the other? Thanks for clearing it up Wallace. I'm just on my final weeks of bmq and I havnt come across any fire fighter staff to ask questions

Normally the military staff are the firefighters that respond to calls while the DND are usually day cell. We recently turned our whole day cell team into commissionaires and we have zero DND firefighters period. I cant speak for all halls though.

ForeverLearning said:
What's the reasoning behind the high turn over? Fire fighters going to civvy departments?

- No postings
- Better pay
- Higher call volume

Those are the big reasons for people going to civi halls. The turnover is a lot less than it was a few years ago. At least in Trenton. Cant speak for other halls.


Spectrum said:
I read elsewhere that many firefighters were being forced to sign 5+ year contracts with a "no release" clause if they want to go on their 5's. Is that accurate? If so, how's that working out as a retention plan?  ;D

The 5 year SOU (statement of understanding) is signed before you go on your 5's and isn't activated until you graduate. MANY people have gotten out this "contract". We had a member actually bring it to a JAG officer and he said that the SOU wasn't worth the people it was written on. Whether this is 100% true or not I don't care cause I don't plan on leaving however if you are interested you are able to join any trade that is currently red as long as the fire trade isn't while under your SOU.

Spectrum said:
Thanks - on a side note, how long is the average new guy in a hall waiting for his 5's these days?

Cheers

It depends on a lot of factors. The two biggest are when they are running the next 5's course and if your supervisors think your ready to be on the next 5's course. If you have a switched on PC and DPC they wont sign stuff of your 4's package until they think you know your shit. However there are people who get through the cracks because their supervisors don't give it much thought. I'll put it in perspective. It took me 19 months to get on my 5's. I went on my 5's with a person who has been waiting 3 years.
 

blacktriangle

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Thanks for the answers guys - it is appreciated.

After some research and talking to some guys civvy and industrial side - I can't believe you guys aren't earning Spec 1. I've been around long enough to know you don't serve in the military if you want to be rich, but they could definitely be doing a bit more for people with your skills.

Keep up the good work.

:salute:
 
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