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International Firefighter Fellowship Exchange Programme 

The International Firefighter Fellowship exchange programme (IFF) is a venture between Australian and New Zealand Fire Services with participating overseas Fire Services. The program was initiated by the Melbourne Fire Brigade, as a Centennial program in 1992. The IFF provides Fellows with opportunities to experience overseas Fire Departments in operation and make it possible for the Fellows to travel, while retaining security of employment at home. Through this process, Fellows:

  • develop a higher level of professionalism
  • experience the opportunity for temporary mobility
  • share knowledge to improve efficiency and morale
  • build international networks
  • enable the transmission of knowledge across emergency services.

To date there have been exchanges between:

  • Australia,
  • New Zealand,
  • UK,
  • USA,
  • Canada,
  • Sweden
  • Ireland,

and hopefully this will extend to other countries in the near future.


How does the Program operate?

Fellowships include the exchanging of jobs and of houses. The professional needs of Fellows are taken care of by the matching of skills, experience and social and family environments. Seniority and rank are not interrupted during the exchange and all benefits are retained.


Costs for travel, personal and health insurances for accompanying family members along with living expenses are managed by Fellows. Policies relating to Insurance coverage for the Fellow will differ from country to country and it remains the responsibility of the Fellow to arrange appropriate cover.


Cost for induction training, workers compensation and uniforms are met by host fire services.


Who is eligible?

International Firefighter Fellows will be experienced Qualified Firefighters, with a minimum of four years full time service. Officers may apply for an exchange, but they agree to work as firefighters for the duration of their exchange.


Please note that the AFAC Application Pack should be completed in addition to the relevant Application pack from the Fellow’s home Fire Service.


How is the Program administered?

The IFF program is administered by co-ordinators, designated by participating agencies.

All Firefighters applying for the program must have the support of their Fire Brigade as each person going on exchange is effectively an ambassador for their Fire Service. It is important that the applicant goes through a selection process.


Before the beginning of the exchange period, applications are called for by participating Fire Departments and these are sent through to AFAC.


All applications are considered by the employing authority, who conducts interviews to determine suitability to participate in the exchange. Successful applications are then forwarded to AFAC in Melbourne which co-ordinates the matching process, and makes recommendations for consideration by exchanging fire services.



If you would like more information on the program visit or fax or write to:

Melbourne Fire Brigade International Exchange Co-ordinator
433 Smith St, North Fitzroy Victoria 3068
Telephone: + 61 3 9420 3723
Fax: + 61 3 94271750


Australasian Fire Authorities Council
P.O. Box 620, Box Hill Victoria 3128
Telephone: +61 3 9899 5088
Fax:. +61 3 9899 5096


Enquiries from New Zealand Firefighters may be directed to:

Kelly Foley

International Firefighter Fellowship Exchange Programme (IFF)

Human Resources

PO Box 2133
Wellington 6140

New Zealand