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Fire and Emergency New Zealand uses different coloured helmets to identify the ranks of New Zealand firefighters at incidents.
Recruit Firefighters (RCFF) undertake regular training to become a firefighter. It takes between 6-12 months of training before going on a 7-day recruits course at the National Training Centre in Rotorua and a 2-day medical co-response course.
Firefighters (FF) are trained to respond to a wide range of incidents including fires, medical emergencies, car crashes, hazardous substances, civil defence and natural disasters. There is a great training and progression pathway for Firefighters, gradually taking on more responsibilities. Firefighters also complete Home Fire Safety Visits, educating the community on fire safety and installing smoke alarms.
Senior Station Officers (SSO) and Station Officers (SO) often ride as 'Officer in Charge' (OIC) of fire trucks and take command and control of incidents. Station Officers are very experienced and usually have 10+ years of experience as a firefighter.
Chief Fire Officers (CFO) and Deputy Chief Fire Officers (DCFO) are responsible for leading a volunteer fire brigade. CFOs and DCFOs also often ride as OIC of fire trucks and take command and control of incidents. They work closely with the community and local businesses to prepare for emergencies.
Rural Recruit Firefighters (RRFF) undertake regular training to become a Rural Firefighter. It takes around 6 months of training before going on a 2-day rural fire ground safety course and 2-day medical co-response course.
Rural Firefighters (RFF) primarily respond to vegetation fires and medical emergencies. However, they may also respond to other types of emergencies such as structure fires and motor vehicle crashes. Rural Firefighters do not wear breathing apparatus and often use hand tools and water additives to extinguish a fire, especially when there is limited water available.
Crew Leaders (RCL) lead rural crews to fight vegetation fires. They have more training than Rural Firefighters and make tactical decisions on the fire ground.
Rural Controllers (RC) and Rural Deputy Controllers (RDC) are responsible for leading a volunteer rural fire brigade.
Operational Support Firefighters
Operational Support (OS) volunteers respond to emergencies and support our firefighters. They carry out tasks to help keep everyone safe during incidents. For example, managing traffic and pedestrians, closing roads, transporting equipment and providing lighting and refreshments.