International Firefighter Fellowship

The International Firefighter Exchange Fellowship (IFEF) is a program for firefighters, creating opportunities for exchanges between Australia and overseas Fire Departments.

Some of the benefits to be gained from participating in the program are:

  • Be able to share knowledge and improve efficiency and morale;
  • Build international networks;
  • Professionally represent your home fire service;
  • Gain knowledge in specialist areas;
  • Gain interesting life experience from living in a location away from your home base; and
  • Experience growth in your professionalism and understanding of different organisations/cultures.

About the Firefighter Exchange Fellowship

Am I eligible for an exchange?

How do I apply?



About the Firefighter Exchange Fellowship

The International Firefighter Exchange Fellowship (IFEF) was initiated by the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB), Melbourne, as a Centennial program in 1992.

The program is a cooperative venture between Australian and New Zealand Fire Services with participation from overseas Fire Services. Initially Fire Services in Canada and UK were approached to pilot the program, and to date, exchanges have been made with Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland and the USA. The program provides an invaluable opportunity for networking between Fire and Emergency Services around the world.

Following its inception, it was identified that there is also a benefit in the exchanging of ideas within Australia and New Zealand, and thus the Exchange Fellowship Program also includes interstate exchanges and exchanges between Australia and New Zealand.

The term ‘fellowship’ is used to indicate the spirit of the exchange. The concept of fellowship is used in the hope and expectation that those firefighters and their families will be keen to join the network of others who have benefited from an exchange and will continue to participate in promoting the program to others.

Exchanges are usually not just about the exchanging of jobs. In most cases, houses and possessions are also swapped. The professional needs of exchange partners are taken care of by the matching of skills and experience, social and family environments. Seniority and rank are not interrupted during the exchange. All benefits are retained.

Am I eligible for an exchange?

To be eligible to participate in the program you will need to be an experienced and qualified firefighter, with a minimum of four years full time service. Officers may apply, but while on the exchange, will perform the role of firefighter. Your fire service is likely to have established criteria for participating in the program.

You need to make enquiries within your own agency to ensure an exchange will be supported, without this, an exchange will not proceed. There needs to be someone with the appropriate authority to oversee the process, usually referred to as the "Exchange Coordinator". Your Human Resources Department is a good place start, or if you know someone who has previously been on an exchange find out who managed their program.

The endorsement of your fire service is compulsory for your application to be considered.

Please read through all of the information and application package documents listed below to further clarify if you are eligible for an exchange.

How do I apply?

Expression of Interest

Before lodging an expression of interest it is important applicants have:

  • read through all of the information and application package documents to clarify if they are eligible for an exchange;
  • received endorsement from their fire service; and
  • an exchange coordinator.

Once the above has been completed applicants wanting to exchange to the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) can lodge an expression of interest only with the firefighter exchange coordinator (applications are not required at this stage).

Suitable match/exchange

It is up to individuals to locate a suitable match/exchange partner. This can be the most difficult part of the process and there is no guarantee that a match can be made. Applicants are invited to correspond/communicate with potential exchange partners. The TFS will keep all expressions of interest on file. Supported TFS applicants will also be notified of interested external applicants when looking for an exchange match.


If you are considered a suitable match you will be asked to submit an application form. The TFS exchange coordinator will review the application for suitability and if endorsed by TFS will liaise with the external applicant’s coordinator to commence the formal arrangements.

Other Fire Services

If you want to apply to other fire services in Australia or New Zealand, please see the information package for contact details. Please ensure that you make note of other fire services that you are applying to when lodging your expression of interest.


Information Package
Application Package


Tasmania Fire Service Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC)

Chris Tomes Exchange Coordinator
GPO Box 1526
Hobart Tasmania 7001
Ph: +61 3 62308443 international
Ph: 03 6230 8443 within Australia



Level 5, 340 Albert Street
East Melbourne Victoria 3128
Ph: +61 3 9419 2388 international
Ph: 03 9419 2388 within Australia