Protect lives and equipment as you lead the fire and rescue services at our airfields and bases.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Operational Support
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

As an Air Force Fire-fighter, you will be responsible for maintaining operations in the base Fire Sections. These are manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A challenging job both physically and mentally, the training you will receive will teach you how to control yourself and your surroundings. Physically, you will get the time to increase your strength and stamina, utilising the base gym and gym staff to meet your outputs. Mentally, Continuation Training programmes are provided and designed to give you the knowledge to make the right decisions in dangerous situations. Camaraderie that is second to none, as well as trust and teamwork, are values held high in the trade.

To be part of the team we don’t expect you to be the best but to give your best. It is as a team that we will be the best.

Job on base

Your duties will range from the day-to-day servicing of all Rescue Fire Service (RFS) firefighting equipment and daily maintenance of fire competencies to risk management. Air Force Fire-fighters provide support for operational aircraft on and off the airfield. You will be on call to perform a range of emergency duties from rescue operations and fire fighting through to humanitarian services. You will also be involved in fire safety, prevention and awareness education and training for all New Zealand Defence Force personnel.

Job on deployment

While on deployment as a Fire-fighter you will undertake a full range of trade skills from maintaining airfield coverage, providing convey protection or live fire range coverage. This could be working with New Zealand Defence Force assets or as part of a Coalition team.

We are quite unique in the fact that we do combine both normal airport firefighting and regular civilian street fire service Fire Fighting. We’re the jack of all trades we can do it all.

Career progression and training

Career Progression
Basic Training
Job Training
Ongoing Training
Specialist Training

Career progression exists from LAC through to F/S at all Bases & W/O at AK & OH.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness

The second phase of your training is a 12 week course at the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military camp, near Palmerston North, that covers various aspects of Fire and Rescue including:

  • Aircraft
  • Structural and Industrial
  • Hazardous materials
  • Rural
  • Pre-hospital emergency care
  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Extrication techniques

After graduating you will be posted to an Air Force base for 18 to 24 months for more job training.

On successful completion of the Basic Fire fighters course you will attend a four week driving course covering theory and driving techniques required to pass your Class 2 licence.

This is followed by a three-week four-wheel-drive course to instruct you in driving techniques for light and heavy all-terrain vehicles.

On successful completion of these courses you will then spend a period of time working on a RNZAF Base, receiving on the job training (OJT) in preparation for your fire fighters course.

After holding your Class 2 licence for a minimum period of 6 months you will under go additional OJT and testing to achieve a Class 4 licence.


After this period you will return to Linton for your intermediate trade training. This lasts for seven weeks and covers further aspects of your basic training plus:

  • Lead a fire crew at an emergency incident
  • Bulk fuel installation fires
  • LPG fires
  • Fire safety awareness training

Completing this course makes you a senior fire fighter and opens doors to a full range of fire fighting duties in the Air Force.


Eighteen months after qualifying as a senior fire fighter you will be able to attend a Junior Fire Command and Control course. This four week course covers:

  • Command & control an initial emergency incident
  • Fire safety
  • Fire fighting legislation

After further experience on your unit, you will then be eligible to complete the Senior Fire Command and Control course. This four week course covers trade-specific subjects such as:

  • Command and control of multi-agency incidents
  • Command and control a vegetation fire
  • Applying fire fighting legislation and policy within the Defence Force
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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and medical
Period of Service
  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Computer skills beneficial.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • Restricted Class 1 licence, Class 1 or 2 Full licence preferred

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • No requirement to wear glasses.
  • No fear of either heights or confined spaces.
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

12 months after you have completed your advanced trade training.

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Ready to start your Air Force career?

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