RFS Qualification: Advanced Firefighter
The Advanced Firefighter (AF) program is targeted at qualified bush firefighters (BF) with
significant experience and applied expertise in fighting bush fires. Advanced Firefighter (AF) is the
minimum standard needed for people to fight bush fires without constant and direct supervision.
Advanced Firefighter (AF) is an internal RFS mainstream program for persons to carry out bush
firefighting activities without the need for constant direct supervision.
It is designed to enable suitable firefighters to control bush fires safely and effectively while
working under orders, but without constant direct supervision.
The following unit/s of competency are aligned with this program:
Title of Unit of Competency
|Maintain Safety at an incident site
Covered by the AF
|Participate in Community Safety Activities
|Prepare, Maintain and Test Response Equipment
Covered by the AF Technical (AFT)
|Navigate in Urban and Rural Environments
Note: AF qualifications issued prior to the 2003 standard provide national recognition in all the units listed above except
“PUAOHS002A Maintain Safety at an Incident Site”.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:
The following prerequisite and co-requisite requirements apply to the units specified for AF.
- PUAFIR204A Respond to Wildfire and PUAEQU001A Prepare, Maintain and Test Response
Equipment are prerequisites for PUAFIR309A Operate Pumps.
- PUAFIR201A Prevent Injury is a prerequisite for both PUAEQU001A Prepare, Maintain and
Test Response Equipment and PUAOHS002A Maintain Safety at an Incident Scene.
- PUATEA001A Work in a Team is a prerequisite for PUATEA002A Work Autonomously.
If a person has BF certification (2003 standard or later) they will have covered all of the above prerequisites
except the unit PUAEQU001A Prepare, Maintain and Test Response Equipment. However, the latter unit is
covered within the AFT component of AF training itself. So effectively BF is the prerequisite for AF.
If a person has BF certification (pre-2003 standard) they might also need to undertake some bridging
training in team work aspects from the current BF course – at the discretion of the local AF training program
Members of long standing and experience without BF certification may be permitted to commence training at
AF level, if the District Training Coordinator is satisfied they can cope with it. In this case their assessment
will need to cover the relevant AF units and any units specified as prerequisites for those AF units.
Assessment and Certification:
The summative assessment for each applicant shall have three components:
- At least 10, and no more than 15, questions (either in oral or short written answer format)
covering the theoretical subject matter of each of the AFT and AFP programs (i.e a total of at
least 20 and no more than 30 questions). Alternatively at least 20, and no more than 25,
multiple choice questions for each program with a pass mark in the 70% to 80% range
- A practical assessment for each of the two programs in which their performance is observed
during at least three simulated scenarios. The scenarios shall be plausible, safely simulated
and cover a reasonable range of events.
- For the AFP program, the scenarios should include the use of CRM skills, predicting bush
fire behaviour, and community safety activities.
- For the AFT program, the scenarios should include navigation, pump operation and the
maintenance of equipment.
- Confirmation from trainers and officers who have observed the performance of applicants that
the specified performance requirements have been met and are applied consistently.
The practical assessment should be conducted when trainees have completed all the relevant
learning and practice sessions, or may be integrated within the final practice sessions. A holistic
approach to assessment should be used.
The assessment should combine the related
competencies in ways that they will need to be used at actual incidents. In particular, the applicant
should show clear evidence that they can satisfy the following:
||Fight bush fires without constant direct supervision and participate in
community safety activities
||In a typical range of environments, including the use of navigation and pumps,
while actively contributing to team safety and performance, and dealing with
any contingencies that could reasonably be expected to arise
||Such that activities are conducted without injury, losses are minimised,
operational objectives are achieved, team safety and performance is
enhanced, the public is kept informed of community safety matters and
equipment is maintained according to procedures.
AF training is divided into the Advanced Firefighter Principles (AFP) and Technical (AFT)
programs. Each shall consist of two components:
- A face-to-face component designed to develop the participant’s relevant competencies during
a structured training course with a nominal duration of 20 hours. This is normally conducted at
a local District/Team/Zone level using local facilities, trainers and assessors.
Note: Distance education or e-learning may be used as alternative approaches to cover the
underpinning knowledge component of the program, provided adequate learner support is
made available (e.g. by phone/email) and that persons with limited literacy or numeracy skills
can still effectively participate in the program.
- Practice in applying, developing and consolidating those competencies by participating in a
specified set of less formal learning activities, either within their own brigade or otherwise
provided by local trainers until the needed standard of performance is reached.
The AFP program content shall include the following topics of underpinning knowledge:
- Reiteration of safety, team and Service related topics covered in the BF program.
- The risk management approach to firefighter safety, and the hierarchy of controls.
- The ‘safe person’ concept and dynamic risk assessment (DRA).
- Limitations of risk management approaches.
- The James Reason (“Swiss Cheese”) accident model.
- Human factors, decision-making and firefighter safety.
- Use of fire crew resource management (Fire-CRM) to manage errors.
- Working autonomously and supporting team performance.
- Bush fire behaviour factors and their effects – fuel, topography and weather.
- Predicting bush fire behaviour and anticipating dangerous bush fire behaviour.
- Community fire (and related) safety hazards in the home, the bush and at work.
- Control and mitigation of community fire (and related) hazards.
The AFP program content shall include the following applied knowledge and skills:
- Personal and team inter-communication skills (e.g. inquiry, advocacy, listening, conflict
resolution and critique).
- Practical error management skills (e.g. CRM techniques to avoid, detect/trap and reduce the
impact of error).
- Bush fire behaviour factor assessment skills (e.g. weather instruments and fuel evaluation).
- Bush fire behaviour anticipation skills (e.g. using fire danger meters and topographical maps).
- Familiarisation with community fire (and related) safety resources.
- Community fire (and related) safety information presentation skills.
The AFT program content shall include the following topics of underpinning knowledge:
- Equipment identification.
- Equipment maintenance procedures (including related safety and environmental issues).
- Equipment maintenance scheduling, reporting and recording systems.
- Principles of hydraulics and pumping.
- Hydraulics calculations (e.g. water capacity, friction loss, height loss/gain etc.).
- Types of pumps and primers – principles, components and drive systems.
- Pump positioning, operation, draughting and relay pumping.
- Foam – types, concentrates, systems, system operation and foam application.
- Maps and charts – types, cartographic symbols and legends.
- Magnetic variation – conversion from grid to magnetic.
- Route planning techniques and calculations.
- Methods for determining current location.
The AFT program content shall include the following applied knowledge and skills:
- Practical equipment checking, inspecting and testing skills.
- Safe use of maintenance equipment, cleaning agents and chemicals.
- Practical pump positioning, engagement, priming and operation.
- Practical use of pump controls and gauges.
- Practical draughting and relay pumping.
- Practical use of maps, compass and timepiece/pacing.
- Identifying features, orienting and navigating from the map to the ground.
- Locating a position on a map from surrounding features.
- Preparation, use and amendment of route plans.
- Use and limitations of navigation aids.
Relevant safety aspects need to be covered before practical activities are undertaken.
Recognition of Prior Learning / Recognition Current Competence:
- Prior to commencing the program, each applicant should be advised of, and should consider
the possibility of gaining certification through, recognition of prior learning (RPL).
- Next the applicant should check the likelihood of successful RPL by honestly answering the
self-evaluation questions in the How to Become Qualified in AF Booklet.
- If those answers indicate RPL is likely to be successful, the applicant should compile the
relevant evidence and seek RPL as indicated in the How to Become Qualified in AF Booklet.
- If those answers indicate that RPL is likely for part of the program, the applicant should speak
with their trainer/assessor about possible exemption from that part of the program.
If those answers indicate that RPL is unlikely, they should participate in the full program.
- Shelf life - AF certification has an indefinite shelf life. However, challenge testing and/or
refresher training may be required if the qualification has not been used for more than three
years or there is evidence that current performance is not to the needed standard.
- Recent experience requirement – No requirements are specified, but it is recommended that
AF competencies be practiced at least once a year.
Advanced Fire Fighting Modules:
AF/1 Firefighter Safety - The Human Factor
AF/2 Bush Fire Behaviour
AF/3 Bush Fire Weather
AF/4 Map Reading
AF/5 Hydraulics & Pumping
AF/6 Fire Prevention