Fire Services

As of August 27, 2021, a partial fire ban is in effect for the City of Medicine Hat.

Fire and Emergency Services is dedicated to the safety of Medicine Hat residents. Rapid response to fires, rescues, hazardous material incidents and other emergencies reduces harm to people, property and the environment, and education on fire prevention and safety helps build a safe community. 

About us

Our firefighters provide emergency response from three stations, located strategically throughout the city.

The operations staff totals 72 members under the leadership and management of a Chief, a Deputy Chief, an Assistant Deputy Chief and a Chief Training Officer.

Four platoons staff the three stations and maintain a minimum of 14 on duty in the city at all times. The competency standards for fire and rescue are in accordance with the NFPA/IFSAC certifications.

Fire & Emergency Services has a fleet of 38 vehicles. The fleet includes frontline apparatus equipped with state of the art technology and carries all the contemporary equipment for efficient management of fire and rescue incidents. The fleet also includes aquatic rescue crafts and an array of specialized equipment for hazardous materials incident management, technical rescue, wild land fires and command vehicles.

Within the department are various advanced teams that both augment initial response units and provide an advanced level of capability to manage more technical demands associated with the various rescue and containment incidents. The teams attract members from the general fire fighter population with a requirement that they serve a minimum of six years as a advanced team member.

Our history

To protect itself and its residents, Medicine Hat saw fit to establish a fire brigade which has since provided fire protection for more than 100 years.

On May 28, 1897, a large fire destroyed the town's government building, the police stables, and a nearby livery. This brought forth the realization that the town was in desperate need of fire protection.

The locals established a volunteer "bucket brigade" which was followed by discussions of establishing an effective waterworks system and incorporation of the town.

Newspaper accounts reveal little of firefighting efforts from this time until May 1899, when the town again faced the potential for wide-scale disaster when a fire broke out along North Railway Street.

Following the 1899 blaze, the local volunteer brigade was more vigilant in protecting the community. A public waterworks system was built in 1901 and soon the first organizational meeting for a 33 member Volunteer Fire Department was underway. Among the first appointments were Dougall McNabb (Chief), W.H. Cavanah (Assistant Chief), H. Tweed (Secretary Treasurer), J. Hardy (Captain of the Hose Company), Wm. Leonard (Captain of the Hook and Ladder Company), and Dave Williamson (Chemical Engineer), plus a brigade of 27 other volunteers. Their equipment consisted of a gong, a siren, a hand-drawn hose reel and a chemical engine.

By 1906, the department had a horse-drawn chemical truck, a horse-drawn pump truck and a horse and buggy. The first Fire Hall was believed to have been built along South Railway Street, then, onto the rear of the first Town Hall, located near the present day Finlay Bridge.

On Jan. 1, 1908, William E. Hatcher was hired on as the first salaried Fire Chief for the Department and William H. Buchanan as the town's first Fireman. Both men were assisted by numerous volunteers in the new Hall at the rear of the New City Hall on Second Street.

On Oct. 6, 1911, the town purchased its first mechanical pump truck, and by 1913, the department had a fleet of three motorized vehicles. Later, a fire substation was added at the top of Third Street Hill at Division Avenue, and another in the Flats area.

After a lengthy stay at the main downtown location, local congestion made it necessary to look ahead to a new Fire Station. On May 24, 1975, a new station was officially opened on Maple Avenue and soon after a substation was located on Dunmore Road.

Fire & Emergency Services continues to serve and protect the City with as much enthusiasm as that first group of dedicated volunteers. Now armed with the latest equipment and the highest level of training, Medicine Hat residents can rest assured that help is only a phone call away.

Courtesy of the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre

Advance Response teams

Aquatics rescue

The aquatics rescue team is equipped with a variety of equipment for both surface and subsurface operations. All divers meet CSA certification through an international agency.

The training this team receives allows them to respond to various bodies of water and winter ice conditions. In addition to the fully equipped aquatics response unit, the team has two inflatable craft for rapid interventions and a rescue boat which serves as a dive platform for sustained dive operations.

Hazardous materials

The hazardous materials team responds to incidents involving the transportation and storage of dangerous goods throughout the region.

The mainline vehicle is equipped with an on-board weather station, satellite phone and laptop programmed with technical information software. Level A & B suits are integral to the response unit, as are SCBAs and basic decontamination equipment.

Technical rescue

The technical rescue team responds to incidents involving elevation rescues, both low and high-angle, as well as confined space rescue.

The team is equipped with a dedicated vehicle which carries an array of rescue equipment, and equipped for off-road rescues and operations. Although relatively self-contained, the team and the unit are supported by an engine company.

Training

The training branch provides knowledge and skills to our firefighters.

The chief training officer conducts training, which consists of in-house instruction, correspondence programs and attendance at recognized training institutions. 

Emphasis is placed on safety and all training meets or exceeds the industry standards. These recognized standards are found within the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Alberta Health and Safety Standards and other governing legislation.

This training includes:

  • Confined space rescue

  • Firefighter self-rescue

  • Surface ice rescue

  • Ice dive rescue

  • Hazardous materials response

  • Technical rope rescue

Recruitment

Medicine Hat Fire & Emergency Services recruits applicants who have successfully completed training accredited with the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or ProBoard.

Medicine Hat Fire and Emergency Services is now accepting applications for the fall recruitment. Deadline to apply is October 29.

View the current job posting

Firefighter qualifications
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Have at least a grade 12 diploma or equivalency
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Level 1 and 2 certificates with IFSAC or ProBoard seal
  • NFPA 472/1072 Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations certificates with IFSAC or ProBoard seal
  • Current Standard First Aid with CPR Level C/AED as a minimum
  • A valid Alberta Class 3 driver's license with air brake endorsement or equivalent with a satisfactory current driver's abstract with six (6) or less demerits
  • Current police information check with vulnerable sector required upon conditional job offer

Other NFPA electives, such as NFPA 1002 Apparatus Driver/Operator, NFPA 1006 Technical Rescue Personnel, NFPA 1031 Level 1 Inspector, NFPA 1041 Fire Service Instructor, EMR or EMT training, SCUBA and PADI open water, as well as diving experience, are considered relevant applicant assets.

The recruitment process evaluates and grades applicants on a pro-rated scoring system, which involves awarding weighted performance grades for each segment of the recruitment process.

Hiring process 

Numerous steps are followed in selecting applicants for the firefighter position. These take place over a number of weeks.

 
 
Application and processing 
  • Complete the online application process
  • Candidates who meet the minimum requirements will be invited to the next step 
Aptitude test 

Firefighters must have specific skills in order to succeed in this demanding and rewarding career. The aptitude test focuses on:

  • Understanding spoken information
  • Reading and understanding written information
  • Numerical skills
  • Mapping, diagrams and mechanical reasoning
  • Teamwork and public relations
Documentation review 
  • Test results and resume scores are calculated
  • Only the highest-ranked applicants will advance 
Job skill assessment 
  • Measure the candidate’s physical ability
  • The test is completed at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation. More information on the test can be found at online at the University of Alberta website
  • The cost of the fitness test is the candidate’s responsibility
Interview 
  • Interviews will be conducted by representatives from Fire & Emergency Services, as well as Human Resources staff. 
Psychometric testing 
  • This testing consists of a multiple-choice scientific test to assess a person’s personality attributes and cognitive capabilities and is completed through an interview with a psychologist.
Station assessment 
  • Qualified candidates will work with alongside crews with Medicine Hat Fire & Emergency Services for one day 
Creation of eligibility list 
  • Eligibility list is created for future openings 
Medical, Police Information Check, references 
  • As vacancies occur, candidates will be requested to complete a medical assessment and police information check with the vulnerable sector check
  • Reference checks will also be completed during this stage 
Job offer 
  • Qualified candidates will be contacted

 

Want to know more about the process? Read our frequently asked questions.

a firefighter's helmet
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Fire Safety Programs

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Fire & Emergency Service reports

Fire Services Strategic Plan

Fire Services staff developed the Fire Service Strategic Plan to provide a roadmap for fire prevention, education, suppression, and rescue services for the city for the immediate future and over the next ten years. This project is a result of a 2009 City Council priority to develop a ten-year plan for Fire Services. 
Fire Response Coverage Optimization Report

The Fire Response Coverage Optimization Report analyzes the effects of traffic pre-emption technology, Mobile Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and changes to dispatch processes on fire response coverage. This report amends the Fire Services Strategic Plan.