New South Wales Rural Fire Service fire fighters are required to undergo formal fire training that is aligned to Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) National Competencies before being able to attend fires and incidents. This training is presently provided at training centres located within the Blue Mountains Rural Fire District, District Office at Katoomba or at the Mt Wilson Fire Station. Continual training, skills maintenance and updating of skill sets is provided at brigade level and is essential to maintaining a member's fire fighting competencies.

The Mt Wilson / Mt Irvine Brigade takes training very seriously. We feel the more knowledge and skills we have the safer it will be for us, and we will be able to serve the community at a higher standard. The minimum requirement for fire fighting is Bush Fire fighter (BF).

We pride ourselves in the knowledge that when our members attend courses, they already are prepared and have a good knowledge of what the particular course entails. We strive for the members to exceed in the basic knowledge and skills of the course.

As mainstream NSWRFS courses are nationally accredited; if you move or are involved in operations in another state other than NSW, your accreditations will be automatically recognised.

We have courses in chainsaw operation, community engagement (community safety), catering and communications. Below is a flowchart outlining just some of the operational training you can do. There are many more specialist and support courses available as you progress through the RFS.

  • Firefighting Training_Paths_12-12

Some members who join the Brigade wish to become involved by supporting the folk who are out on trucks and to help with the running of the Brigade. A series of courses are available for this type of role and to start along this path one should complete the Bush Firefighter Support course.

Bush Firefighter Support

Bush Fire Support (BFS) is a program for non-fire fighting members who may operate in the vicinity of bush fires or undertake roles that support active firefighting. It is a shorter version of BF that includes BF safety and theory knowledge but not the associated physical fire fighting skills. It is specially tailored for people like station officers who man a station, or communications officers, catering and other support staff who might need to operate on the fireground, but aren’t firefighters as such.


Below is a brief outline of the core training courses for operational front line fire fighters:

Bushfire Fighter

When you become a volunteer with the N.S.W. Rural Fire Service you will be asked to undertake training in Bush Fire fighting.

Bushfire fighters must have the competence required to allow them to fight bush and grass fires in rural, bush and urban environments. These members will have the skills and knowledge to enable them to:

  • work safely on the fire ground
  • have an appreciation of fire behaviour
  • use various techniques to suppress a fire
  • use and care for fire fighting equipment
  • use and care for communications equipment
  • work in a team

Bushfire fighters will always be under appropriate supervision. Members cannot attend any fire incident until they have completed the required training.

Village Fire Fighter

VF Certification completed Nov 2010

VF Certification completed Nov 2010

Fire behaviour in buildings and vehicles often depends on quite different factors from those that influence bush fires, and they may present different hazards to fire fighters. Village fires usually also develop much faster. This means that the ability to quickly receive a call, respond fire fighting units and commence fire fighting at the scene is much more critical than in grass or bush fire fighting.

Village Fire fighter courses are delivered and assessed by qualified trainers and assessors. The course involves instructor-led theory and practical sessions, in addition to self-paced post-course activities covering:

  • structural fire behaviour
  • gas fire behaviour
  • motor vehicle fires and accidents
  • urban interface fire fighting
  • use of equipment in a structural fire environment
  • fire ground procedures

Advanced Fire Fighter

The level above Basic Fire fighter is the Advanced Fire fighter (AF). This level provides you with the competency to fight bush and grass fires without constant and direct supervision. The course involves instructor-led theory and practical sessions, in addition to self-paced post-course activities, covering:

  • maintenance of fire fighting equipment
  • map reading and navigation
  • hydraulics and pumping
  • human factors in fire fighting
  • incident safety
  • fire weather and behaviour
  • fire prevention and community safety activities

Some of these subjects are introduced during Bush Firefighter (BF) and Village Firefighter (VF) training however Advanced Firefighter (AF) training covers these topics in greater depth.

Crew Leader

What do Crew Leaders do? After you have the pre-requisite qualifications to become a Crew Leader, you may be wondering what Crew Leaders do. Here are some things that Crew Leaders typically do at an incident:

  • ensure the crew is ready to respond
  • brief the crew on the way to an incident
  • size up the incident upon arrival
  • assume CONTROL and/or command your crew
  • decide the most appropriate fire fighting tactics to use on the fire ground, sometimes under stressful conditions
  • communicate the overall strategy and tactics to the crew
  • task the crew and other units
  • adjust tactics and tasks if needed
  • call for more resources if needed
  • handle crises and unexpected situations that arise on the fire ground

Here are some things that Crew Leaders who are Brigade Officers typically do when they are not at an incident:

  • participate in hazard reduction activities
  • help identify individual training needs of the crew
  • help the crew prepare for incidents
  • conduct area and equipment familiarisation activities.
  • conduct site inspections
  • build teamwork skills so that if something unexpected happens at an incident the crew knows what to do
  • supervise maintenance activities
  • help with brigade social activities
  • coach, mentor and support the crew, both professionally and personally

Here are some things that Crew Leaders get involved in that you may not have known about:

  • sort out disputes between members before they escalate to formal complaints
  • help deal with personal issues that members come to them with
  • represent the Rural Fire Service through community education activities (e.g. talk to scout groups or similar)
  • administration (e.g. fill in incident report forms)
  • rostering and sorting out crew shortages

Community Engagement volunteers work with the community to educate and to provide information and status in an emergency. There are several training programs available for people who work to provide Brigade support to the community

We encourage all support volunteers to complete the Bush Firefighter Support program. A series of courses are available for people performing the support role and to start along this path one should complete the Bush Firefighter Support course, and then go on to complete some of the other courses listed below.

Bush Firefighter Support

Bush Fire Support (BFS) is a program for non-fire fighting members who may operate in the vicinity of bush fires or undertake roles that support active firefighting. It is a shorter version of BF that includes BF safety and theory knowledge but not the associated physical fire fighting skills. It is specially tailored for people like station officers who man a station, or communications officers, catering and other support staff who might need to operate on the fireground, but aren’t firefighters as such.

Community Safety Assistant

The Community Safety Assistant (CSA) program is for members requiring the knowledge and skills to participate safely and effectively in community safety activities. The program provides members with the competencies to assist with specific hazard identification, present community safety information and undertake mitigation activities.

Community Liaison Officer

The Community Liaison Officer (CLO) training provides the competency needed to identify and evaluate risk in the community during a fire or other emergency incidents, and implement strategies to improve community engagement activities, delivery of information and education to the public and emergency personnel involved in the incident.

Community Safety Coordinator

The Community Safety Coordinator (CSC) program is designed to provide members with the skills to coordinate community safety activities. The program provides members with the competencies to develop appropriate networks and awareness in local communities to enable the development and implementation of public safety awareness activities. Participants will gain an understanding of the Rural Fire Service and learn how to determine safety awareness requirements, and to develop and implement safety awareness programs.

Street Coordinators

Street Coordinators provide a very important community service during an emergency by communicating with their neighbours and advising Officers in command of the incident of local status and concerns. They meet several times a year and hone skills and support mechanisms during these meetings. Training programs include CSA and CSC programs.

Mt Wilson/ Mt Irvine Brigade training session are on the calendar attached to this website or you can contact the Brigade Training Officer.

To find Blue Mountains RFS training sessions for the year, go to MyRFS and login using your username and password. You can register with MyRFS if you are a member of a brigade. You will need your Firezone number, your name and the brigade to which you belong to register.

Use the menu on the LH side and go to 'Training'. Using the menu to the top of the page you can search the 'Training Course Schedule' or the 'Assessment Event Schedule'.

Some members who join the Brigade wish to become involved by supporting the firefighters who are out on trucks and to help with the running of the Brigade. A series of courses are available for this type of role and to start along this path one should complete the Bush Firefighter Support course.

Bush Firefighter Support

Bush Fire Support (BFS) is a program for non-fire fighting members who may operate in the vicinity of bush fires or undertake roles that support active firefighting. It is a shorter version of BF that includes BF safety and theory knowledge but not the associated physical fire fighting skills. It is specially tailored for people like station officers who man a station, or communications officers, catering and other support staff who might need to operate on the fireground, but aren’t firefighters as such.

Station Officers

Station Officers man the Mt Wilson Fire Station during emergencies and coordinate all the activities required to support operations in the field. This includes making up crews for the various shifts, communicating with the crew leaders in the field and FireComm, knowing the status of field activities,  coordinating crews and equipment into and out of the field, maintain supplies for the station and call in other support groups as they are needed. Station officers will have completed basic firefighting training and meet in pre and post fire seasons to plan and evaluate activities during the fire season.

Catering Officer

The Catering Officer coordinates the catering team and ensures food supplies in the fire station and to crews and support staff during and between emergencies.

Equipment Officer

The Equipment Officer overseas the workshop and ensures all equipment is ready for operations between and during emergencies. A specialist training program for Equipment Officer (EQO) which is an internal RFS specialist program (no national equivalent) for members who coordinate equipment care and maintenance within a rural fire brigade. It is designed to take a member with existing advanced firefighter (AF) knowledge and skills, and enable them to coordinate brigade equipment care and maintenance activities.

The Brigade runs operations training days at 8.00am to 1.00pm on the first Sunday of every month.  On those days when training is just our local brigade we usually start with breakfast at 8.00am. When the training is West Sector combined training we still start at 8.00am but there is no breakfast since we need to travel and prepare for the combined training session. Approximately nine of these Sundays involve local training sessions and about three are West Sector joint training sessions with neighbouring Brigades.

In addition, special local training sessions are held at other times for both operational and support volunteers.

The Blue Mountains RFS holds training sessions to build skills in brigades. This year the following documents provide an outline and schedule of all courses, plus the form to nominate for a course.

Training Information Booklet for all Blue Mountains courses

Training Schedule for this year showing which courses will be held, when and where.

Nomination Form to apply for a course

Training opportunities

Operational Fire Fighters

Community Engagement

Support Volunteers