Every day, CFA brigades across the state welcome new members to their ranks.
Meet Madeline Dundon, Kalorama-Mount Dandenong Brigade
Watch Madeleine’s story, a new recruit who is learning the key skills that will prepare her for her first turn out.
CFA volunteers join because they want to give something back to their community and feel a sense of achievement.
Along the way, they develop leadership and management experiences, meet new friends, learn new life-skills and build valuable connections in their community.
No day is the same for our volunteers and each brigade is different because each landscape and community is different.
Volunteers perform many roles beyond fire suppression in grass and bushland and in homes and buildings. They educate and engage the community about fire safety, help residents develop fire plans and respond to other emergencies when they happen. This might include attending road accident, or helping with flood response.
We are many different faces across 1200 brigades with one crucial mission – protecting lives and property.
Building lifelong connections
Part of the appeal for many of our volunteers is being part of an inclusive team. Hear from current volunteers, about how they have formed incredible, lifelong friendships which support the many roles they take on in our communities.
As trusted members of the community, CFA works to provide a safe and inclusive environment for our members.
Our values guide and underpin the behaviours expected of all CFA people, regardless of their location or role.
We will live these values and ensure that members are confident in identifying and calling out behaviours that do not line up with these values.
CFA is committed to creating safe and supportive environments for children and young people and has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of child abuse. All CFA members have a legal and moral obligation to keep children and young people safe.
Read more about our Values and Behaviours.
Meet Andrew Hack - Captain, Wye River Brigade
Andrew shares his thoughts on how being Brigade Captain is like leading a footy team – you’ve got to make sure all the team members are working together.
Becoming a volunteer
- Once you have submitted your application, your local brigade will contact you regarding the next steps. Some brigades host information sessions for people interested in volunteering and some may require you to sit an interview.
- After you express your interest online, it could take a few months before you are accepted into a brigade. Some brigades only meet once a month and new applications need to be reviewed and voted on at brigade meetings.
- CFA has a probationary period of a minimum of 6 months. In this period, you will only be required to complete CFA induction training.
- You are not required to undertake a specific role, but you may undertake additional training such as General Firefighter (GFF) training during your probation period.
- You won't be able to do any firefighting until you have completed General Firefighter training and have achieved the required competence levels set by your Captain.
- CFA responds to more than just bushfires, and to ensure we are ready for any scenario training is vital for all our members.
- Training happens throughout the year and is ongoing for all our members to maintain the relevant skills. Many training courses can be delivered online or at Brigade headquarters. Our purpose-built training campuses offer firefighters and recruits the opportunity to practice firefighting scenarios in a controlled and realistic environment.t.
- All new recruits to operational roles are required to undertake General Firefighter training course, which takes around 30 hours to complete.
CFA Volunteers in Victoria’s South West undergo training at one of our specialist centres to prepare themselves to respond to many scenarios.
Virtual reality training
Virtual Firefighter is CFA's new virtual reality firefighter training. Its technology that brings fireground training direct to the Brigade.
What to expect - more than firefighting at CFA
CFA is strongly involved in preparing our communities and our local environment in the event of fire.
Vegetation management - CFA brigades conduct planned burning which reduce fuels to minimise the impact and spread of bushfire. They also work to clear roadsides of vegetation.
Community fire education - CFA brigades also play a vital role in educating communities about fire safety in the home, and in their local environment. They may also help communities in preparing fire plans in especially fire prone areas.
What to expect FAQs
How many hours a week will I have to commit to?
The time commitment will depend on the individual brigade and the type of role that you choose, so it’s best to talk with your brigade for more information. There is a minimum attendance requirement at brigade meetings.
For firefighters (operational volunteers) regular training is required to ensure your acquired skills are maintained. Frequency of training and incidents to attend varies between brigades
For support (non-operational) volunteer roles, hours per week are likely to be flexible and varying, and will depend on your role, brigade and the time of year.
Can I do more than one role?
Firefighters (operational volunteers) are able to also undertake non-operational roles (support roles) at their brigade.
Support (non-operational) volunteers do not have the training to attend incidents or fires, so cannot do operational roles.
It's possible to change your membership status between operational and non-operational.
One volunteer can take on multiple roles, depending on the brigade’s needs and the amount of time the volunteer has.
How long is the training? What does it involve?
Compulsory General Firefighter training for firefighters (operational volunteers) can take up to 6 months and no fires can be attended until this training is completed. In this initial training you will learn all the basic skills and safety requirements to be able to commence attending incidents.
Once you have completed this, brigades run training to maintain skills and learn new ones.
Are there any costs involved in being a volunteer?
While there is no monetary cost to join CFA, there is the cost of your time given to CFA. This includes travelling to and from the station, meetings, events, and attending incidents. If you are a firefighter, it is possible you will miss times with your family such as Christmas and birthdays due to incidents.
All training and equipment is provided by CFA as needed.