Firefighter Recruitment

Paid-on-call (POC) firefighters play a key role in the delivery of emergency services to the Clearwater County, the Town of Rocky Mountain House, and the Village of Caroline. Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services POC firefighters respond to over 500 incidents annually and are trained to internationally recognized standards. Apart from direct support to emergency operations, our POC's contribute countless hours of time in support of our communities.

Firefighters of Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services: 
  • Respond to calls day and night under stressful and often emotional conditions; 
  • Give back to the community through their desire to help people in need;
  • Face new challenges with courage and dedication; 
  • Willingly learn new skills;
  • Can control emotions during times of crisis; and
  • Develop a strong sense of accomplishment and passion for their responsibilities within the community.

Due to the high volume of inquiries, we created a manual that we hope answers all of your questions. You can find it here

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at fireadmin@clearwatercounty.ca or 403-845-4444.  

Generally, CRFRS opens recruitment intakes in October/November of any given year. However, there are a number of factors that could affect recruitment drives being rescheduled. Follow CRFRS on social media to ensure you always receive the most current information. 

Facebook: Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services, CRFRS

Twitter: @ClearwaterRFRS  


The process can take several months, as the following five steps must be successfully completed.       

Step 1 - Application/Prescreen 

Download the application here. Carefully review each section and answer all questions completely and honestly. You are responsible for the accuracy of all statements. All applicants must follow the application protocols outlined in this manual. Please be advised that dependent on the applicants’ years of service/qualifications these steps may be altered to meet station demands.

Step 2 - Interview

Once the applications have been collected and reviewed by at least 2 Chief Officers the applicant will be contacted via phone or email to schedule an interview. The interviews will be scheduled to begin at 19:00 (on a Tuesday or Thursday) and be approximately 45-60 minutes. 

Step 2.1 - Firefighter’s physical fitness evaluation must be completed (while in full personal protective equipment but not on air) during the recruitment process, for more information click here. Should the applicant be unsuccessful they will be allowed to retest one week later, if unsuccessful a second time they will not be considered for a position.     

Step 3 - Selection Committee Review

At this stage of the process, we substantiate the information collected and confirm the validity of credentials and certificates submitted in the application process. 

Step 4 - Firefighter Recruitment Training 

Attendance to three scheduled weekends is mandatory for all recruits; 30 days’ notice will be provided to allow necessary scheduling time. FRT is designed to make recruits feel comfortable with their surroundings and get a feel of what to expect in future training.   

Step 4.1 - Evaluation by Battalion Training Officer          

Evaluations will be completed by the Assistant Chief in charge of training and/or the respective Battalion Training Officer. 

Step 5 - Employment 

Once the above steps have been successfully completed and conditional requirements met, employment will continue as per provincial employment legislation, common law application and County requirements. The applicant must be available to participate in the mandatory Clearwater County employee orientation. 


Probationary Period: 

All new Paid-on-call firefighters are placed on a probationary period for a minimum of six (6) months. During the probationary period, Recruits will undergo extensive training and evaluations to determine ongoing suitability as a POC firefighter. This includes quarterly evaluations regarding your strengths and weaknesses, this will help ensure your success. Applicants who fail to successfully complete their probationary period will be released from Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services.   

The Fire Service views fitness as an integral component in firefighting due to the physical strain induced while performing operational tasks. The impact varies according to each person’s muscular strength/endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, motor coordination and flexibility. 

Mental Fitness

First responders attend to dangerous situations. Please consider:

  • You have a strong network of people who understand who you are.
  • You have the ability to ask for help when you need it.
  • You have healthy sleep patterns.
  • You have a healthy means of dealing with your emotions.

Physical Fitness

The risk of injury in firefighting and rescue work results mainly from: 

  • The use of various heavy machines and apparatus;
  • Dangerous entrances and awkward spaces;
  • Extreme heat exposures; and
  • Rapidly changing environmental conditions.

In emergency situations, firefighters must be physically able to act quickly and at times, under duress. For example: 

  • In a multi-story structure fire, a firefighter climbs stair while wearing heavy and cumbersome personal protective equipment (weighing up to 25-kg) and carrying tools (weighing up to 15-kg). Following this strenuous stair climb, the firefighter must be fit enough to then carry out physically demanding operational tasks. 
  • In rescue operations associated with traffic accidents, a firefighter must be capable of handling hydraulic tools (weighing up to 15 kg) in strenuous and awkward work positions for considerable lengths of time. 


Physical Fitness Preparation 

A personal commitment to a life-long fitness regime is essential to safely performing firefighter duties. To prepare for this challenging career, you need to follow and maintain a total body program that is specific for the job tasks and one that focuses on: 

  • Flexibility,
  • Cardiopulmonary endurance,
  • Muscular strength, and
  • Muscular endurance.

Body composition is also considered an area of physical fitness. Excess body fat increases the workload placed on the body and decreases its ability to dissipate heat.

Paid-on Call Firefighters are not allowed to respond emergencies to or attend training or events if they are impaired in any capacity. 


Physical Activity Readiness

Before beginning any exercise routine or aerobic fitness evaluation, it is essential you have an awareness of your ability to partake in physical activity. 

Ask yourself:

Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and recommended only medically approved physical activity?

Do you have chest pain brought on by physical activity?

Have you developed chest pains (while resting) in the past month?

Do you lose consciousness or balance as a result of dizziness?

Do you have a joint or bone problem that could be aggravated by prescribed activity?

Is your doctor currently prescribing medication for your blood pressure or a heart condition?

Are you aware, through your own experience or a doctor’s advice, of any other reason against your exercising without medical approval?

If you are uncertain how to interpret any of the questions and/or their relationship to your health, please discuss with your doctor.

I have a full beard; can I still be considered for a POC position? 

No, you must be clean shaven in adherence with Alberta OH&S regulations. 

Do I require previous firefighting experience or training prior to making application? 

No, we will train you in firefighting skills including hands-on live fire training. 

Do I need Basic First Aid or a First Responder Certificate? 

No, you will be trained by the department in CPR and first aid to the required level including basic life support, Narcan and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) endorsements. 

I am currently a volunteer/Paid-on-Call firefighter in another municipality. Do you have an experienced firefighter transfer program? 

Experienced volunteer/paid-on-call firefighters will still need to participate in our recruit training program that includes an orientation, Standard Operating Guidelines and station procedures. After the recruit training process, firefighters with previous training will be assessed on their level of NFPA 1001 training for appropriate placement in our on-going skills development and training maintenance programs. 

What is the cost of the required training? 

The required training for paid-on-call firefighters is provided to you by Clearwater County. This includes all protective firefighting clothing and equipment. 

Who provides insurance coverage for my activities as a paid-on-call firefighter? 

Alberta Workers' Compensation Board coverage is in effect when a firefighter is performing the duties of a paid-on-call firefighter. Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services also has insurance coverage for auto liability when operating Fire Service vehicles, as well as accidental death and disability coverage through a third-party insurance provider.

How are POC fighters compensated? 

Paid-on-call firefighters are compensated for approved certified training, weekly training, call attendance, public education, deployment and standby shifts and per the Paid-on Call Firefighter Compensation Procedure HR-1007-02P. 

After my initial training period, how much time am I expected to give as a paid-on-call firefighter? 

The exact time requirements vary based on individual station call volume, the minimum expectation is 20% of the station average of call volume and 40% of the weekly training nights. 

How long do emergency call outs last? 

This is dependent on many factors out of our control. The average call-out lasts one - two hours. Durational calls such as working structure fires or major motor vehicle collisions may extend to three to four hours. Major, multi-alarm fires may last eight to ten hours. 

What happens if I cannot respond to a call? Will I be let go? 

Paid-on Call firefighters are not required to attend every call, rather as many as they are able to. The minimum expectation is 20% of the station average of call volume and 40% of the weekly training nights. 

What if I have consumed prescribed/unprescribed substances? 

Paid-on-Call firefighters are not allowed to respond to emergencies if they are impaired in any capacity. 

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires? 

Fighting fires represents a relatively small portion of the work of a typical fire department in today’s world. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors including improvements in construction and a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires and property loss. A large amount of CRFRS’s emergency responses include motor vehicle collisions, medical first/coresponse, hazardous materials releases, fire alarms and other calls for public assistance. Firefighters also spend time maintaining equipment, assisting with public prevention/education training, and competency training for all types of emergency responses. 

Do firefighters have to do any extra training? 

As the environment, technology and demographics change we must advance our training along with it. A firefighter with CRFRS will continually train to maintain current with medical standards, fire suppression tactics, and even new vehicle technologies. 

Will I have the opportunity to practice the physical fitness test before I have to take the evaluation? 

No. The onus is placed upon the applicant to review the information in Appendix B to allow them to train accordingly. You will, however, be oriented on each task prior to being required to perform the task during the physical test. What if I am unable to complete all the tasks within the allotted time?  Applicants must pass all tasks as described in Appendix B or an “unsuccessful” will be noted on their results. Applicants will be given two (2) attempts, within 14 days, to complete the physical test. If the applicant is unsuccessful after both attempts, then the applicant will receive an unsuccessful grade for the physical test and be removed from the application process. Do I require any special equipment to take the test? No, applicants should come in clothing they are comfortable moving around in. The required equipment (footwear and personal protective equipment) will be provided by the department. 

Do I pay the costs of the medical testing? 

Yes, the applicant will pay for the cost of the medical exam.