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In New Zealand, the rail industry also carries freight by sea between the North and South Islands. This means additional careers including ferry drivers, forklift drivers and other roles involved in freight handling.and customer service.

Occupation description

In Australia, fire officers respond to major emergency incidents on the rail network, including underground. They organise access, coordinate and support the onsite work of emergency service organisations and the rail organisation. They respond to fire alarms and emergency calls, control and extinguish fires, and protect life and property. Registration or licensing is required.  Fire officers communicate with other emergency response personnel using radios, computers and other communication technology. They also assist in developing, researching and testing contingency plans, policies and procedures, equipment and training.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Fire officers need good communication and negotiation skills for dealing with internal and external relationships including contractors, the fire brigade, police and the SES. They need to be physically fit and able to pass a medical examination, be able to work under pressure, and work at heights and in confined spaces. They need to be willing to undertake ongoing training and professional development. They also need strong computer skills and to be extremely safety conscious.

Working conditions

Firefighters wear uniforms, breathing apparatus and other personal protective equipment when fighting fires and dealing with other incidents. They may attend regular fire and evacuation drills and be required to work both day and night shifts in order to maintain a 24 hour service.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

Competition for available positions is often very strong. You may be able to work as a fire officer without formal qualifications however the minimum required by employers would be completion of relevant secondary school qualifications. Once you are employed, you will undertake training on the job and in-house training courses, such as safety investigations, risk assessment, traffic management, traffic control, managing workplace violence, first aid and workplace training and assessment.

In Australia, vocational qualifications in fire management such as the Certificate III Retained Fire Fighter would be helpful in gaining employment in this area.

The websites below will provide you with more information.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association, About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

For more information

Career paths

There are many options open to you and your career will take different turns depending on your stage in life and personal circumstances. Typically, you will progress from an entry level role through to more senior or supervisory roles depending on the size of the organisation. You may move into more technical specialisations such as fire research and investigation, counter-terrorism, hazardous materials response and rescue operations. Typically, you would be required to train and assess.

You may become a manager in an emergency response team. In Australia, there are related vocational qualifications in public safety, fire fighting supervision and management at certificate IV, diploma and advanced diploma levels that may help you in your career.

This information is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary depending on the structure and needs of your organisation and government rules and regulations.

Related Jobs

The jobs below may require additional qualifications as well as experience.

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for a fire officer