Becoming a Firefighter in France

In France, the Service Départemental d’Incendie et de Secours (SDIS) controls the country’s fire and rescue departments. Essentially, firefighters can be volunteers or professionals, and they receive a rank similar to that of the army. As the SDIS is closely linked to the France Home Office, careers in the fire and rescue service are known as civil service or public service jobs.

Approximately 80% of France’s firefighters are volunteers while 15% are professional; this equates to 197,000 volunteer firefighters and 39,200 professional firefighters.

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to join the fire and rescue service as a volunteer or professional. These requirements are detailed below:

Professional firefighter requirements

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold French citizenship and have civic rights
  • Pass medical and physical capability tests and meet required conditions

Volunteer firefighter requirements

  • Applicants must be between 16-60 years of age
  • Must reside in France and have civic rights
  • Must pass medical and physical requirements
  • Parental consent is required by all underage candidates
  • To Volunteer with the fire medical service, candidates must provide certificates of their national diploma
  • Pass capability test and interview

One of the main advantages of becoming a volunteer firefighter is that the training can be performed in parallel to your other commitments, whether you are a full or part time employee, have a family to look after, or you are a student with studying commitments.  

Professionals, including pharmacists, nurses, vets, doctors, and other medial specialists can join the fire medial service as volunteer.