Switzerland’s fire service is based on a cantonal basis. This means that for each canton, there is a dedicated fire department to serve that area. Overall, there are approximately 2,300 fire services in Switzerland, the majority of which are staffed with volunteer firefighters. There are 15 main fire services, which employ full time professional fire fighters. Swiss firefighters are part of the Coordinated Civil Protection System.
Responsibilities of the fire service
Firefighters in Switzerland, like most other fire departments across the globe, are responsible for:
Dealing with hazards
Chemical and oil spills
All matters relating to firefighting
There is a general fire duty in Switzerland, which applies to both men and women alike. The duty is performed by act of physical service to the fire department or though paying an annual exemption tax.
Career with the Swiss Fire Service
To obtain a career with the Swiss fire service, it is necessary to satisfy a list of requirements including age, physical ability, and psychological capacity, to name a few. Provided the necessary standards are met, applicants can progress to training with the Intercantonal Fire Training Center.
There are two main modules available for firefighter training, these are:
Scene of fire modules
There are two ‘scene of fire’ modules, or SF modules are they are commonly known. These modules are provided by the ifa and last for approximately 3 hours. Each SF class holds up to 8 dire service personnel, and aims to give candidate real experience of indoor firefighting.
The deployment modules, or ‘D’ modules are they are referred to, also last 3 hours and enable training to be carried out at the scene of incidents, in front of crew and watch commanders.