What it takes to volunteer

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

What it takes to volunteer

Volunteering is rewarding, yet it also takes commitment. Research shows that our most satisfied volunteers are the ones that contribute the most. So, if you’re thinking about signing up, find out what’s involved and then decide. 

Age requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old to volunteer but if they have their caregiver’s permission can be 16 or 17. All applicants aged 18 plus must be police vetted.

Our volunteers need to be New Zealand citizens, residents, or have a work visa.

Police vetting

Being a volunteer requires trust and integrity and is a position that comes with responsibility. So, all applicants must undertake police vetting. This identifies any information the Police holds about a person.

We do not accept people who have convictions for arson or sexual offences. For other crimes, it depends on the conviction and when it occurred. Unpaid fines must be paid before applying.

For more information see the Police website: Information about vetting

If you have any questions about police vetting to become a volunteer, please email our recruitment team at volly.applications@fireandemergency.nz

Medical checks

People wishing to volunteer as a firefighter, or as a medical responder must undertake medical checks. Brigade support roles do not require medical checks.

Firefighters and medical first responders must undergo a medical test with their GP. Applicants with the following conditions will require further testing:

  • mobility issues
  • history of asthma
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy or loss of consciousness
  • some heart conditions
  • certain psychological conditions.

People who volunteer in operational support roles complete a medical self-assessment.

If you have any questions about medical checks, please email our recruitment team at volly.applications@fireandemergency.nz

Contributing your time

Volunteer firefighters, operational support volunteers and medical first responders need to be able to respond to call-outs, at any time, and often with little or no notice. Some brigades operate a roster.

Volunteer firefighters, medical first responders and operational support volunteers attend a regular training night which varies from weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They also attend formal training courses which may require time away from home and work. Some brigade support volunteers may also be required to attend the brigade training night.

Living or working near the station

In most cases but not all, volunteer firefighters, operational support volunteers and medical first responders need to live or work near the station so that they can get to the station quickly when called out.

Working and being a volunteer

Our volunteers who are firefighters, medical first responders or operational support will need to manage their work responsibilities alongside their responsibilities as a volunteer. We encourage all our volunteers to work with their employers to reach a mutual agreement about responding to call-outs during work hours.

Read about how we recognise businesses (including self-employed) that employ and support our volunteers: Employer recognition programme