As well I recently found out that I can take emergency first aid and standard first aid in Alberta and then apply for an out of jurisdiction B.C OFA 1 certificate so that hopefully I can apply to Alberta and B.C in 2017. Would I really have first aid for both provinces in this case or would my Alberta certificate merely be replaced by a B.C one (in which case I couldn't apply to Alberta.) I have personal wilderness experience and I believe I'm well suited to this job but I don't have much work experience or volunteer experience that would lend itself to it. My plan is to move to Edmonton where I will volunteer in search and rescue and fire fighting as soon as possible and get as much first aid as possible to build up my resume. I have ICS-100 and a basic Nova Scotia wildland fire suppression course and will take as many other short courses as I can, even just to show my resolve and commitment in my cover letter. If I have to buy a car it will limit the amount of first aid and certifications I can get but I'm willing to work for a contractor company in B.C in 2017 if I can't get one of the government positions.
Good on you for wanting to go wildland. It's a awesome gig. If you want to work in BC, or any of the western provinces just get your OFA 3 if you can. It's a pain. I got mine while working contract in BC and now work in Alberta. It's a worksafe BC course and there isn't much equivalency. The nice thing is it's good for 3 years and accepted in most western provinces.
If you want to work on a provincial crew, BC or Alberta get in shape. BC will want you light - 200 pounds max, and putting up a high score on the beep test during your interview. Same for Alberta, do good on the WFX and they prefer you be light too - not as strict but it will make a difference.
I now work in Alberta, have also worked in BC. Attitude is a big one, most people don't have prior fire experience. It's a lot of crappy days and they want someone who is going to work long hours with a smile and do it for up to 18 days. Study up on fire, behavior, terms and educate yourself. If you get to the interview stage demonstrate you care, your a team player, and that you want it. I heard of guys thinking they could get hired because they did really good on the fitness portion. More to it than that.
It's competitive! Get the qualifications you can, I think 1200 people applied in alberta and just over 100 hires. BC gets 2-3000 applicants I think. You have to stand out. Honestly, not having a car and this job is a challenge. Not impossible. Those who don't have cars are usually
Relatively local and have someone to drive them around - don't think the guy who says he'll drive you can when his girlfriend has made other plans at the end of your shift lol.
Contract work isn't bad but don't expect to get rich. I did it and the experience certainly got me where I am today. Find a reputable company, you'll probably have to move near where they are based and have a job you can leave on short notice. You get the 'fire scraps' when provincial resources are stretched. It's a rough go - but well worth it! If it's a busy season you might get a couple months of steady work, make decent coin and that's when you'll know you want to get on with a provincial crew!
If you got any questions ask away! Hope that helps. Just apply anywhere you can and see what you get. Might take you a year, might take a couple but it's worth it!
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